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ECIN
Senior Advisor

I Think YOU Should all read this

I  came across this artical this morning and  -- boy did it hit home on some parts = Being short sometimes , well I will tell a story on myself - I have a chit hole to work in and for years and years have wanted to put up a nice shop to work in - BTW as I have got older - rolling around in dirt has - well -- become less fun - it's to plant in - not work , This summer - it was time to do someting ! The BIG problem was where to put it - we have an open ditch here and at Mom  and Dads place that was screwing up the perfect spot -  I wanted to put it up on the main farm ( bins , tool shed - everything is there - well Dad just threw a chit fit ! to say the least - I was NOT going to put in field !!! and screw it up !  Here at home - I really didn't wnt to put a big shed - resell reasons - For we have no kids and don't plan to farm for ever - this left a spot for a shop where the old ban sit's now - well after 3 weeks of what if this and thats' it came togather yesterday !

 

The reasons I tell this story is that - I have been a bgger p r i c k* than   the norm - then I read this from Farm and Ranch by Dr. Michael  Rosmann - and it hit home -- Maybe -- just maybe - I'm not really a p r i c k but have a genetic expresstion problem - lol - You guys do NOT need to comment on that - OK ? lol

 

Thanks Dr.

 

Ken

 

BTW it  may be a good Idea to tell my wife of - almost 35 - I'm sorry

 

Do Some Farmers Push Themselves Too Hard?

 

When I was speaking at the annual meeting of the “Women in Agriculture” in Iowa recently, several wives said their husbands don’t know when to quit working. The husbands insist they can’t take time away from the farm operation because no one else “can do it right,” or “as well.”

One woman said “I tell him he married me, not the farm.” Another said, “I buy tickets to football games and concerts so he has to go with me, or I go alone or with a friend. Eventually he starts to ‘get it’. He knows we need to be together as a family.”

There are two sides to the matter and I am familiar with both. For my first dozen years of farming I felt compelled to not take time away from farm work that needed to be completed. I learned “the hard way.” I lost several toes in a combine “accident” when I was overworking. 

I have counseled many farm couples trying to resolve struggles over spending quality time together as a couple or family. The adage, "The family that prays together stays together,” can be adapted to “The family that plays together stays together.”

Why do farmers have a difficult time “letting go,” even if only for a few hours to days?   Dutch cultural anthropologist, Dr. Lizzy van Leeuwen, suggests farmers are motivated by a genetic inclination toward perfectionism. 

Lizzy stayed with Marilyn and me for 10 days in June this year. Lizzy interviewed dozens of farmers and scientific authorities, mainly in the Netherlands, but also in other European countries and recently in the U.S. 

Her theory is consistent with psychological studies that showed successful farmers buckle down when faced with adversity and tenaciously rely on their own judgment. In previous articles I often have cited Australian, Scottish and American studies that helped give rise to the contention that an inherited drive, called the Agrarian Imperative, instills farmers to work incredibly hard. 

The traits associated with this drive have become concentrated in successful farmers, and to an unknown extent in other successful persons who carry the same genetic expression. Research shows less successful persons exhibit fewer characteristics of this genetic expression. 

There is a downside to this genetic predisposition. Dr. van Leeuwen suggested successful farmers’ pervasive preoccupation with perfectionism and need for interpersonal control, even at the expense of themselves and their families, incline them to be more sensitive than usual to perceived criticisms. 

Farmers, especially those who feel stressed, become angry toward persons who disagree with them or they assume others are judging them negatively and become unnecessarily harsh on themselves, even to the point of feeling depressed. Dr. van Leeuwen theorized their sensitivity to criticism contributes to the high rate of suicide by farmers.

Problems in relationships and depression/suicide concerns are primary reasons why farm families seek help. An analysis of reasons why 44,000 persons involved in agriculture called farm crisis hotlines and helplines affiliated with the AgriWellness network during a 26 month period (September 1, 2005-October 31, 2007) indicated callers were concerned about marital/family problems (24.6%), problems in daily living (27.7%), feeling depressed or suicidal (27.7%), stress over finances (14.3%), alcohol/drug abuse (4.9%), gambling (.6%) and unclassified issues (.2%). Females initiated 54.5 percent of the calls.

The farm and ranch callers described their marital/family problems and problems in daily living as breakdowns in communication, angry outbursts—usually by an overworked husband/father, abusive treatment of others, and growing disintegration of the family unit. Two percent of the callers who said they felt depressed also reported suicide attempts, plans or thoughts.

The cost of overworking is considerable. Spouses, children, parents and extended family members feel disregarded by the person who is overworking. Their willingness to help the distressed farmer gradually tapers off as they grow cynical that he/she will change. 

The overworked and distressed person can experience deteriorating physical and behavioral health. 

Only the overworked person can decide how much work is enough. Taking time to recreate with the family and to restore one’s body and mind are investments in oneself. No one else can do that for the stressed farmer. 

I have heard heart-breaking stories from aging farmers who said their main regret was they wished they had spent more time enjoying life with their families instead of working so hard. Regrets, instead of accomplishments, clouded their retirement memories.

There is still time before harvest begins to take a vacation. There is no time like now to make a permanent behavioral change for the good of all.

Marilyn and I miss our stimulating discussions with Lizzy. She is back home, working on her next book (about farmer suicide). 

Besides our intense debates, Lizzy told us her favorite times in the U.S. were her walks with Marilyn on the dirt road that borders the east side of our farm. She didn’t care that Marilyn had spotted mountain lion tracks on the road earlier.


Dr. Rosmann is a Harlan Iowa psychologist and farmer. Readers can contact Dr. Rosmann at the website www.agbehavioralhealth.com

 

 

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17 Replies
clayton58
Veteran Advisor

Re: I Think YOU Should all read this

Thanks for posting this. An excellent reminder for all of us to take care of what is really important in our lives
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Jim Meade / Iowa City
Senior Advisor

Re: I Think YOU Should all read this

Why do you go to such lengths to introduce swear words and bad language into so many of your posts?  Many of us don't like it.  You have to work hard to get around the software filters to put your bad language on our screens.  why do you do this to us?  Don't you care at all?  Is your need to force me to read what you  swear more important than our preference to use civilized language?  Yes, I've gotten to where I do often skip your posts just because of your language. 

You have to work so hard to swear.  It just astounds me.  It makes you far less a man and much more a head strong boy who doesn't want to get along.

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ECIN
Senior Advisor

Re: I Think YOU Should all read this

Well Jim -- i will have to agree with you on your post - i should not use bad words on this site - i will make no excuses to this - But I was for a lack of better words - a P on this subject I posted on - I in NO means - Mean to offend you or others on this site - sometimes _ i guess that I just think i'm talking to myself like I do on the farm .

 

Will try and do  better

 

Ken

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Shaggy98
Senior Advisor

Re: I Think YOU Should all read this

Good post ECIN I think it would be a good read for all of us. However, it was a bad idea on my part to read this to my 11 year old (the little farmer in the family). He said with all the extra load of the new school year of being in Jr. High vs. grade school coupled with a few elder ladies around town he does small weekly chores for, he no longer will have time to mow our lawn. He states that it would just be to stressful and would take away from what little family time he has left in his day.

Kids, just gotta love em. LOL
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buckfarmer
Senior Contributor

Re: I Think YOU Should all read this

Hey shaggy how do you think that applies to those of us with off the farm jobs? For me some of it applies, like the strain on relationships. But being stressed by over work? No way. I get the most stressed when I don't get to farm as much as I'd like or need. I did let a few things slide when my son was born but it about drove me nuts. I totally enjoy lots of off the farm activities.... If the work is done first. Some of that is spot on but some is totally wrong. I've actually reached out for help a couple times to councelors but felt the time I spent with them was time wasted away from the farm. When you work a off the farm job every free minute you get is precious. If I can get away from the real stress in my life and spend a few hours a day getting stuff done, I'm happy as a hog in "mud". ( don't want to offend anybody).
I've told this story on here before. I didn't find out about this unroll years after it happened. My aunt once scolded my dad for not going to enough of my sporting events in high school. Thing is I could have cared less if my parents ever watched any of my sports. I was plying to have fun. I would have much rather my dad been home getting something done. I know my kids my not feel that way when they get older. It is an example of people from out side farming trying to tell us how we should run our lives or how we should feel.
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Shaggy98
Senior Advisor

Re: I Think YOU Should all read this

I agree completely Buck. People who are fortunate enough to farm for a living are subject to stress and time restraints that only the farm offers them. Granted that most of them have twice or even 3 times the acres that I do, they aren't subject to off the farm job stress related issues. Not trying to take anything away from them, I'm sure not having an off the farm income has its own set of issues, issues that I am hoping I can relate to in the not so distant future.
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Kay/NC
Honored Advisor

Re: I Think YOU Should all read this

The article makes some good points, but I do not think being a workholic is unique to farming. The main difference I have seen is when farmersautomatically expect a wife and kids to want the farming done the wsy one person wants it done,above evetything.

I hear both sides - my husband and the daughter who manages our sine nurseries for us five days a week. If there is a compelling reason hy something has to be done a specific way -for safety readons, primarily - then being a stickler makes sense. If it comes to our waste management permit, then what I sat oes, period.

A couple of days ago, we received a set of time cards for a worker we hired off of a transition from welfare program thst NC calls Work First. We do not keep time...our employees have such steady, time-tested workloads, it has never been necessary. I will have to inform the agency that this is a set hours, salaried position, and I will not be performing bookwork for it. Mike went off on a severe harangue about this subject, right before bedtime, night before last.

My reply, after I had heard all of his complaints about the waste of time and BS, was, "Why do you care, and when have you ever hanled bookwork anyway?" Last thing I need is to get all perturbed about something thst is really nothing, right as I am about ready to drift off to sleep....

That has always been our biggest " problem". He recites a list of worries right as we wind down to rest, or on the rare occasion that we get a few hours away. Last thing I want to listen to, either time, is hat MIGHT go wrong.

Farmers, learn to stop " borrowing trouble". Most of the stuff you fret about never happens, and you just wear everyone around you out with the worries.
ECIN
Senior Advisor

Re: I Think YOU Should all read this

Alot of truth in that last sentence Kay

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basset&co
Senior Contributor

Re: I Think YOU Should all read this

4-jim

 

Job Interview:

Human
  Resources Manager: "What is your greatest weakness?"

Old Man :
  "Honesty."

Human Resources
  Manager: "I don't think honesty is a weakness."

Old Man : "I don't really give a s h * t what you
  think."

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