For the average person, scheduling a vacation is an exciting and jittery activity!
But for a farmer or rancher, scheduling a vacation goes a little something like this:
When is a good time to take a vacation?
Never! In the summer, there is hay to mow, calves to wean and grain to haul, in addition to the other projects that accumulate throughout the year. In the spring, farmers plant, in the fall, they harvest, and the winter is spent trudging through snow, mud and ice ensuring that the cattle are fed and that they are able to calve safely and comfortably. For a farmer, each day relies on variables that are out of their control, making vacation time very unsettling and nerve racking. Just the thought of being out of reach from the farm in case of emergency is enough to send any agriculturalist “unpacking.”
When is a good time to depart?
When all the chores are done, of course! It’s often hard to convince a farmer to leave his or her work and ensure them that everything will still be the same when they get back, because you simply can’t promise that! The best thing to do is have a trustworthy individual watch over the farm while the farmer is away and make sure they understand that they will probably receive phone calls, text messages, emails, and carrier pigeons (depending on how remote the vacation location is) inquiring about how everything is back home.
What is the weather going to be like?
When farmers and ranchers scan the weather radar before departing for a getaway, it isn’t because they are concerned that a pop up shower may interfere with their afternoon vacation agenda. Producers always like to know what conditions are scheduled to be like at home so they are prepared before they leave. If it is going to be hot and dry, they move their cattle to pastures with access to lots of shade and continuous access to water. If it’s going to be cold and snowy, farmers secure all the barn doors, lay an extra thick layer of clean bedding and provide a fresh bale of hay.
What should you expect once you are at your final destination?
To have a great time and finally enjoy yourself! However, be aware that a farmer’s mind will always wander back to the farm with thoughts such as, “Should I have filled the creep feeders one more time? The electric fence was working, right? Can that grain wait to be hauled until Monday?” And the list goes on and on! These are simply signs that farmers and ranchers are biologically programmed to care for their land and livestock, and even when they are supposed to be taking a break, those responsibilities continue to be their number one priority.
Having the luxury of dropping everything and taking a vacation is something that many people take for granted. Farmers and ranchers do schedule time for themselves throughout the year, but it requires a lot of careful planning and consideration. Very few times do farmers and ranchers actually stop to recognize the importance of their profession or the impact they have on everyday life; they simply know what needs to be done and they take it upon themselves to be there at any hour of the day, night, or year to ensure their farming operation is managed in the most safe and responsible manner.
To farmers and ranchers everywhere, take time this summer to spend with your family and friends! The cows will understand.
All for the Love of Beef,