To think farmers work too hard?

(221 Posts)
Ladyflip Sat 25-May-13 17:47:54

I am a farmer's wife. From last Saturday to yesterday my DH has worked 108 hours out of a possible 168. He is still at work now. He hasn't had a whole day without going to work since October last year. He worked 351 days out of a possible 365 last year, including Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year. This is standard for our life.

I get very frustrated at our lack of family life and holiday. He gets very tired and irritable. I know I am not the only farmer's wife to find rearing a family with a farming DH difficult. But I get more frustrated at people telling me how hard they work when they have no idea what real hard work is like. Yes teachers, I'm talking about you bellyaching at working 60 hours a week and having lots of holidays.

Yes I'm pissed off. It's Bank Holiday and I have barely seen my DH except to put meals in front of him. Flame away.

Ladyflip Mon 27-May-13 22:18:50

Thanks for the wine Checkpoint!

Working long hours is a nightmare for anyone who has to do it, and it is difficult juggling that with a family. As mentioned in this thread, the relentlessness of farming is very grinding.
We can all work long hours for weeks at a time, but when there is no let up except for maybe 10 days a year, its pretty tiring for all concerned.

Do you have a family and how do you and your DH (?) cope with your long hours?

Yes I have two DDs, 10 and 4. My DH works flexi hours for a government organisation (scientific) and so he does all the drop offs and pick ups that my parents don't do for us, or when the DCs don't go to after school club or stay later at nursery.

I basically do nothing at all towards the housework all week (except bath the kids and make tea) and then the and do my bit at the weekend, I am lucky to have a very nice DH! But he does get narked off with me, I try to explain that it's just how it is and he can make the time up in the holidays which he does.

I feel stressed for you, and for your DH. I am clueless about farming but can he pass the buck to a deputy ever? I saw a 'herdsman' mentioned earlier, could he ask that person to do more? Apologies if that is a naive way of looking at it!
Glad you like the wine a nice Yellow Label Wolflass Chardonnay!

Ladyflip Mon 27-May-13 22:50:05

Your DH sounds like me in this set up. You probably have enough to do without feeling stressed for us too!

We do have a full time herdsman and a relief herdsman. It's not really possible to ask the FT herdsman to do more (he has a family too!) but I do think we have issues with the relief herdsman. This is where it gets difficult. He is off sick again. When any staff are sick, its difficult to find very short term staff to cover who know what they're doing, so DH ends up doing it, because its not only easier but cheaper.

I've nearly finished my wine (an Italian red, since you ask) grin

timidviper Mon 27-May-13 22:57:23

My FIL was a dairy farmer until he retired and sold up. Not wishing to start off any competitive whingeing again but MIL never worked on the farm, she worked as a teacher in the local school and I know exactly which job she would tell you was harder and it wasn't hers! Coincidentally, they had a farm manager as FIL approached retirement whose wife was also a teacher and was quite scathing of some of the moaning from within her own profession

FIL did work hard over very long hours but did quite well out of it financially. DH and his brother did not want to work on the farm and FIL has since told us he is glad they did not follow him into farming as he was aware that times were getting harder and harder.

You have my sympathies OP. I think you have had a spectacularly hard time on this thread from some people who just do not want to listen to reason

timidviper Mon 27-May-13 23:02:32

Lady Are there any agricultural colleges nearby? FIL had similar problems with an unreliable worker but often had students who were able to help with odd hours.

Your talk of baling twine reminded me that when I was pregnant with DS I was warned that labour might be difficult because of his position and DH told me not to worry as he was sure he could get him out with a stick and some baling twine!

Gosh, there isn't really an easy way to sort it then is there, although timid's idea looks pretty good! Could he sell up and you go all hardcore at your work!? (Again I know naff all about solicitors!)

Again, I feel for you, and hope you can find a way to help your DH have a bit more time with you all!

GentleOtter Tue 28-May-13 00:12:02

Would you be able to persuade your dh to spend a weekend with you on another farm? One not far away? Are there some B&Bs near you? My cunning plan is that you can talk with another farm wife, your dh can see how other farms are run and the evening would be your own.

Dh and I have spoken tonight of the long hours and being so committed to the farm all year, the lack of farm sitters and my desperate need to go home to the Highlands for a break. Well, I spoke, he listened then went back to the cowshed to check on imminent calvers. I will get home to the Highlands when I am 87.
There is always something to do on a farm and when we are not all swigging cider and talking about the price of butter wink, the reality is somewhat less romantic.

You have had a rough ride on this thread and I was going to suggest a Farmer's wives thread on OTBT?

Shallistopnow Tue 28-May-13 00:30:18

The whole education system is a gravy train for teachers etc. They gain far more than our kids do. And most of them can't spell & are culture-less.

Rindercella Tue 28-May-13 00:33:30

grin at shallistopnow chucking a hornets' nest into the thread! You know, if you have to ask, you probably should (stop now I mean).

OwlinaTree Tue 28-May-13 08:13:05

Shallistopnow How did you learn to read and write then? Guess you gained nothing from any teacher.

Loving idea of an education gravy train. Do you read the news?

Ok .... what is his motivation for having so many cows? Is it the financial rewards? Strange as he clearly has no time to enjoy the harvest of his endeavours! Maybe he could drop the number of cows to say 100 or 120 to return his working hours to some semblance of normality. We have a 60 cow herd and still turn a reasonable profit ... so if work-life balance is really such an issue for the family, and he wants to continue to be a dairy farmer, that would probably be the way to go.

Oh and how old are your children? (Sorry if I missed that info upthread) Could they help with feeding calves etc?, or are they still very little?

QuietTiger Tue 28-May-13 08:58:19

I feel MORE than qualified to comment on this thread - DH is a farmer and I am a teacher. He works ridiculous hours compared to me. Last week, like the OP's DH, he worked something like 110 hours. That is completely normal for him. We've had days off cancelled, arranging a couple of days away is like a military operation, and last night was a good case in point - we went out to the cinema for the first time in god knows how long, had planned to have a meal afterwards, and got a phone call to let us know our sheep had escaped on to the road and we needed to get home to retrieve them. Meal went out of the window and we ended up eating pizza on the sofa at 11pm.

Having said all that, DH wouldn't do my job (Secondary science teacher) for all the tea in China. The stresses of a teacher are very harsh, and they "do" very much need their holidays - most teachers I know are utterly knackered at the end of term. There are stupid and ridiculous amounts of paperwork, 9/10 lessons, you get some sort of attitude from pupils, I am sworn at daily (normal), there are a lack of resources to do your job effectively, and an incompetent arsehole of an education minister who couldn't find his arse with both hands, a torch, a neon sign saying "arse this way", who keeps changing the parameters of teaching. There is no question that they deserve their holidays.

However, I believe that many, many people in all walks of life don't work as hard as farmers. I certainly don't work as hard as DH. I have guaranteed time off, I finish at a reasonable time if I want to, I have time to meet friends, do hobbies, and go to the gym. I have friends who are junior doctors, solicitors & barristers, they work hard, but they still have time to do stuff.

Farming is not a "job", it is a very, very stressful way of life. Made worse by the fact that people want cheap food, but things like farming costs like fuel and fertilizer are rising, while farm gate prices are dropping. We found an old milk-check statement from 1993 - we were getting £0.31p/litre in 1993. Now, we are lucky to get £0.27p/litre with double the costs!

OP, I feel your pain, I really do.

OwlinaTree Tue 28-May-13 09:31:50

I certainly feel the op's pain. I felt sorry for her till that stupid comment about teachers. why pick on them as slackers? I could put on here the assumptions i would make about farmers having it easy - but i wouldn't as i think it would be offensive to the op and others, and i don't want to just rile people for the sake of it, that's not what the op was about.

Farming is a very essential job, but then so is education. Maybe a bit more respect for what everybody does.

boxershorts Tue 28-May-13 12:18:27

Big landowners will have others doing the work.

Small farmers will work hard

Ladyflip Tue 28-May-13 12:49:46

Hello QuietTiger, you also used to have fun on the widows thread! I didn't know you were a teacher though.

I do agree that most farmers would rather chuck tyres on a silage clamp for ever than teach teenagers. And without getting into teachers v lawyers v farmers, there are stresses in my profession that others would find difficult to deal with. For example, dealing with the recently bereaved on a regular basis can often leave me feeling utterly drained.

I think one of the hidden costs of farming is the sacrifice of family life. That's really what I was moaning about. sad

QuietTiger Tue 28-May-13 13:51:23

I did indeed Ladyflip. smile

TBH, now I'm a supply teacher when I feel like it - I jacked in permanent teaching after I got physically assaulted by a year 11 boy - he hit me over the head with a lab stool in lesson 1 of the day, and I was expected to teach the little shit in lesson 5 because the head teacher said I must have provoked him and it was my fault! Obviously, that's a little extreme because most schools are not like that, but it was enough for DH to go apeshit say enough was enough.

The hidden cost of farming is the sacrifice of family life. I have taken to booking time away from the farm and deliberately picking spots where we have no mobile phone reception and then giving "a one-way debrief" and an ultimatum. grin

I know a fabulous little place in Cornwall, and found a nice spot in Cumbria last week when we went to pick up our sheep dog. I've told DH that I'd like to go back to Cornwall & Cumbria... grin Bless him, he still hasn't worked out that all the places we go just happen to be a phone black-spot!!

I've had a stressy DH for the last few weeks because of the weather and the maize not being in. Add to that the contractors not turning up on time to do what we need them to and it can be a real challenge... I do regularly pull DH up on his behaviour - I've just been dismissed now because he "needs to get on". He's pissed off at the weather (it's raining), as even though he needs the rain for the fertilizer that he's just spread, he doesn't need the rain because he needs to foot bath the cattle outside and the slurry pit is full to bursting...

olidusUrsus Tue 28-May-13 18:27:25

Never mind farming, this thread is fucking relentless! grin

MrsPHollywood Tue 28-May-13 18:32:31

Olidus. The thread had been inactive for about 4 and a half hours, but thanks for bumping.

olidusUrsus Tue 28-May-13 18:33:48

Fucking hell, sorry hmm

EdvardMonsterMunch Tue 28-May-13 19:37:48

Rain, rain and more rain.
Moan, moan, moan.

Only sunny day was Sunday and that was Mother's Day here.
There are things he could have been doing but he took time off to spend as a family (and MIL angry).

Sounds daft but those few hours spent together are really precious and i treasure them all the more.

ShyGirlie Thu 03-Jul-14 09:02:30

just browsing this thread, really cant believe how much people are villifying farmers. i am a teacher, oh is a farmer. we both work extremely hard, although my hours are obviously less. it's normal for oh not to be inside (except for meals) until midnight. yes at times i find it a real struggle and often complain about lack of time together.

however, for all you lot harping on about subsidies and farmers being paid for doing nothing - just catch yourselves on. where do u think anything in your fridge or cupboards would come from of it wasnt for farmeres? i REALLY cannot stand this "i hate farmers / slow tractors / smell of slurry" mentality of narrow minded idiots. there are no words to describe how mad it makes me. you literally owe your whole life to farmers, its the backbone of this country.

good luck with managing to stay alive at all if subsidies are cut - and by the way, if a fair price was paid for all farm produce no subsidies would be needed at all, but everyone wants to stick with supermarket price wars where the farmer gets paid an absolute pittance.

i am IMMENSELY proud to be a farmers daughter and farmers wife to be. i am also hugely proud of the farming industry in this country.

i just wish some people would wise up and open their blooming eyes. angry angry angry angry angry

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