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To think farmers work too hard?

(222 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.

Foxred10 Sat 25-May-13 20:34:34

Ashoething I have never heard anything so ridiculous. Yes there are wealthy farmers but far far more who barely scrape by on the poverty line - on top of working incredibly long hours in all weathers.

To day there is no such thing as a poor farmer is lazy, ignorant and downright ill informed. I work in this industry BTW (not farming directly) and the grinding poverty I've seen in some farming families would genuinely shock you.

This is a different issue to that which the OP raised (and equally as serious) but I refuse to let it go by.

I would (politely) suggest that you wouldn't last a week on a working family farm hmm

GentleOtter Sat 25-May-13 20:42:26

Ashoething - you are welcome to come and see for yourself and help out.
We could not pay you nor guarantee your safety if you drank the water nor give you a hurl in a brand new BMW but you would have lovely rosy cheeks and a cockerel to take home.
We could invite other farmers round and you could tell them how rich they all were. They would love that.

bellybulger Sat 25-May-13 20:43:18

Sorry but I crave your life. I work hard for admittedly good money but we have looked many times to farm. Truth is we can't afford to set up. So suck it up or sell up and try a different way of life.No one is making you do this.

GentleOtter Sat 25-May-13 20:55:26

bellybulger, farmers tend to hope for the best and keep going although RSABI have noted a huge increase in calls for help. Weather, disease and other problems have taken their toll on farming for the past few years.

The option to sell up is not one if you are a tenant, for example.
True that nobody forces anyone to farm but it is all my dh knows as 5th generation farmer. It is what we do. If you eat meat, bread or porridge then it may have been raised on our farm.

If supermarkets paid the producers fairly then things might be better for the farmer.

I believe the original issue was that the OP wanted to spend more time with her husband?

quoteunquote Sat 25-May-13 21:01:14

Farming is relentless, in a way almost no other job is, farming in this country is on it's knees,

I'm involved, through work, families and friends, the OP is not in an unusual position it a common story,

I take my hat off to all of our farmers, they are up against a horrific set of circumstances.

it's shitty what is happing to british farming, we will be regretting allowing it to be destroyed for a long time.

Spikeytree Sat 25-May-13 21:20:03

I'm from a farming family. It is relentless, yes, but they do it because they love it. They couldn't do anything else. My sister and brother-in-law get up at 4, they have to milk and sort out the animals before doing the milk round, the day finishes when everything is done and at lambing/calving time it might not finish at all. They would not give it up for the world (well, my sister hates the milk round, so maybe she'd be happy to let that go, but that's the bit that earns money!) It was my nana and granddad's farm, then my mums.

Perhaps it works best when both partners in the relationship work on the farm together? Lucky you getting a holiday together at some point, though. Standard in our family is to go to the seaside once and then say you've seen it, why would you need to go again? The occasional day at the county show is as far as holidays go.

Me? I'm a vegetarian teacher. I do help out with lambing (I have tiny hands) and haymaking. It's more knackering than my job but I'd rather reason with a cow than a 15 year old.

lilystem Sun 26-May-13 06:24:31

Great to see some support for farmers here.

For those saying they choose to do it, yes they do. But who exactly is going to grow/rear their food and maintain the countryside - it's not exactly a disposable job, someone has to do it.

Ehhn Sun 26-May-13 10:12:45

I think the comparison between teachers and farming has just come up because it is half term so I guess op has her kids at home. I'm sure it's not personal. Teachers definitely have the longest holidays of all professions, but also have a serious limit on earnings and very tightly arranged scale for promotion (at least in the state sector). It is a choice though. Farming is a choice, but it is also a lifestyle that can run deeper than that. It isn't just a job, it's a way of being and living.

(Family of beef farmers; I work in HE).

quoteunquote Sun 26-May-13 10:52:15

Teachers definitely have the longest holidays of all professions,

really? evidence please?

Farming is a choice

rather good job someone makes that choice then, shakes head and wanders off.

janey68 Sun 26-May-13 11:06:03

Oh fgs- is this still going? Surely every job has pros and cons, and also unless you've had a significant chunk of experience in every kind of job in the world then you aren't actually going to understand all the pressures, particularly the hidden ones.

Also what is a pressure for one person isn't necessarily a pressure for someone else. I am neither a farmer or a teacher but I would prefer to manage a herd of cows than a herd of adolescents. For other people its the other way around.

Sounds like the OP and her hubby need to retrain as teachers as they seem so envious of them.

Rindercella Sun 26-May-13 11:33:20

janey, I guess the thing with a herd of cows is that you can't just hand them back to the parents at the end of the day. They need to be cared for 7 days a week, 365 days a year. If it's your farm, you have ultimate responsibility for them and therefore if farmhands are on holiday, or off sick, then you have no choice but to look after them. If you are on your knees sick, you still have to look after them. I know of some dairy farmers who now milk three times a day. It can be gruelling and relentless. Yes, it is a choice - of course we all have choices, but most farmers go into it because their parents farmed, and their grandparents...

OP, I am pleased you're going away as a family in July. It is so important to have that time out. My dad was a dairy farmer and he always made sure we had a family holiday together every year. As well as the farmhand we had, he would get his brother & family to come and stay at the farm while we were away.

To all those saying farmers don't have it tough, did you know that farming has one of the highest suicide rates of all professions. So some farmers' wives become not just "harvest widows", but actual widows (believe me, there is a vast difference between the two).

frostyfingers Sun 26-May-13 11:39:16

This is for Ashoe who seems to think that farmer's are raking it in.
Source: Dairy Co. uk/Farmer's Weekly - bear in mind this is income not profit....

Specifically for dairy farms, average Farm Business Income is forecasted to drop to £50,000, approximately 40% lower than the previous year. While average milk prices and prices for cull, store and finished cattle all increased over the 12 months, a number of other factors have caused an overall decrease. Lower production levels and increasing input costs, mainly feed, have meant the year has been tough. It was not just the cost of feed that had an impact but the extra volume needed as grazing conditions have been average to impossible since the summer. This has also meant home grown forage has suffered with quantity and quality.
In England, livestock farmers in less favoured areas (LFAs) are set to see a 52% reduction in income to an average of £14,000, while the pig sector will see incomes fall by half to £19,000.

The English poultry sector is likely to have fared the best, with no change in predicted income of £41,000.

In Northern Ireland, the picture is similar. Dairy farmers are estimated to have seen a 53% drop to £27,462.

No one is denying that other professions have a hard time, but I have to dispute the implication that you never see a poor farmer.

janey68 Sun 26-May-13 11:46:53

But you also have to factor in other things. The farmers around where I live don't seem to be cash rich at all, generally. I know one tenant farmer whose 3 children are privately educated but most certainly don't seem well off HOWEVER they mostly live in lovely period farmhouses which would be beyond the financial reach of 99% of our local population. Now, I'm not being naive: I'm sure there are some leaky roofs and these families can't always afford to maintain the property as they'd wish. BUT they are still living their life in a very attractive home with stacks of outdoor and indoor space.
In other words- swings and roundabouts. The debate could go on forever- someone is bound to come back and tell me some more disadvantages of being a farmer. We could do this for any occupation.

Ashoething Sun 26-May-13 12:33:47

27 to 50 grand is a pretty good income if you are living in the family farm house and don't have a mortgage to pay. Yep I agree with janeyall the farmers kids I have known have gone to private schools and imo if you can afford to educate privately you are NOT poor.

stargirl1701 Sun 26-May-13 12:46:55

OP, you need a robot milking parlour! I saw one on Countryfile recently. The cows choose when to milk themselves! Amazing technology.

I married a farmer's boy smile From where I'm sitting, they love the job. Love it. Hours and all.

viewwitharoom Sun 26-May-13 12:56:03

I do have sympathy with OP as yes farming esp dairy is relentless. I don't know why she feels she has to comment on, or rather slag off, the holidays of other professions though! And what a surprise that she selected teaching.
I am a teacher in a rural community. I wouldn't want to farm (for a whole load of reasons not just the hours.) Most of my neighbours are farmers who tell me they wouldn't want my job, probably because I am teaching their kids! Each to their own I guess.

KingRollo Sun 26-May-13 13:45:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Ashoething Sun 26-May-13 17:42:40

No thanks king-I am aware that where I live 27 grand is a lovely income-maybe its not for others though. Certainly probably not enough to privately educate your kids but hey ho.

The best quote on this thread that sums it up perfectly was farming is an expensive hobby.

Rindercella Sun 26-May-13 20:13:32

Ashoe, perhaps all farmers should give up their expensive hobbies then and then everyone can pay more a lot more money for their milk, cheese, butter, eggs, beef, pork, cereal, chicken, lamb, etc., then. Oh, and all the countryside can be sold off and developed so you will no longer enjoy beautiful landscapes when travelling through the countryside.

You speak from pure ignorance. In fact, your posts are some of the most ignorant I have read on here. So all farmers privately educate their kids then? How the hell do you know how that is funded? And where that happens, perhaps it's through the mothers' income, or by kind grandparents.

And you really do need to educate yourself on the difference between income and profit. Your husband's a lawyer you say? Interesting.

KingRollo Sun 26-May-13 20:15:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

KingRollo Sun 26-May-13 20:15:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Badvoc Sun 26-May-13 20:17:49

I think your very valid point was totally sidelined when you started teacher bashing tbh.

Ashoething Sun 26-May-13 20:22:32

The op left herself open to a flaming-she did say flame away remember? when she decided to be snide about teachers.

hopipolla Sun 26-May-13 20:26:53

YABU farmers across Europe have been ripping off the taxpayer through the CAP for years

EBearhug Sun 26-May-13 20:27:30

I grew up on a farm, and the only thing I ever remember my parents arguing about where the hours he worked. At least we lived there, so we did get to see him (and I have some very fond memories of picnic teas in the harvest field.) But I don't think it was coincidence he had a heartattack one October after a particularly hard harvest.

My mother always insisted we went away in spring and autumn, so he really got a break (if we stayed home, people would still have been calling in, phoning and so on.) There were enough people on the farm to allow this, but how many farms have that option these days?

(A friend was thinking about a change of career. "I'm thinking of something more relaxing, like running a dairy farm," he said. He doesn't still think it would be relaxing.)

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