The traditional image of the farmer has him rising before dawn and spending all day in the fields, only to return to the house tired and dirty in time for dinner. It’s a lonely, exhausting job, but perhaps a rewarding one with a cachet of quiet honor.
For decades, though, business has been learning the value of proper work-life balance - the ways in which job and personal life interact or interfere. Does this concept extend to the farm? How does the modern farmer meet the demands of their business operation in the face of health, relationships, and family?
About 99% of all farms in the US are run by families. These farms account for 89% of the country’s farm production. Despite this, farming is an inherently lonely profession. Most farms in the country are run by just one person responsible for the day-to-day operations. Less than half of all farms reported having two or more operators.
Nearly three out of four farmers work 10 or more hours a day , on average. However, since the farm is so often a family operation and the farmer is his own boss, there is flexibility in how those hours are arranged. Depending on their current workload, a farmer is able to rearrange his own schedule to attend a child’s baseball game or recital.
Finally, even though most farms are run by a single full-time individual, they are still in most cases family businesses. That means a farmer will be near his family , and they may be involved in many facets of the farm’s operation, even if they don’t qualify as full farm workers. Sharing the heritage and legacy of a family farm with your children is certainly a fulfilling way to balance your work and home life.
Technology Leads the Way
Technology is reshaping every industry, and farming is no different. Precision agriculture technology makes operations more efficient, that the time saved can be reinvested in the farmer’s home life. Being able to monitor crops remotely using wireless sensors or even drones means that those tasks can be done from the kitchen table after a family meal.
Mobile technology provides access to information and applications in the field, letting farmers plan more efficiently and react more quickly to changing conditions. And social media platforms serve both to connect farmers to business contacts and let them stay in touch with family and friends.
Farmers are always looking for new tools to make their farm run more smoothly, so they can focus on what’s important both at home and in the fields. For ag marketers looking to provide those tools, it’s important to understand each farm’s needs. Farm Market iD provides the highest quality information on farms and farmers down to the individual field. Contact us for more information.