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Taking a Break From the Farm

As a farmer, the idea of vacationing might seem as foreign as those little umbrellas in fancy drinks. Yet, it’s essential for your well-being. Vacationing is not just about relaxation; it’s about reducing stress and preventing burnout, especially when you’re responsible for a farm.
Research shows that vacations can factor into a successful strategy for reducing stress levels… but how can you take a break when your farm demands constant attention, particularly if you’re caring for animals? The key lies in planning and finding the right resources. We reached out to Nicole Tommell of the Central New York Dairy, Livestock & Field Crops Team of Cornell Cooperative Extension. As the Farm Business Management Specialist and the owner of her own family farm, she provided perspective in making plans for rest.

Chair next to stream and rocks

“Understand,” Nicole shares, “That a vacation doesn’t have to be a lengthy getaway. Even a short 36-hour break can work wonders. A vacation doesn’t have to be extravagant or far away. Even a brief escape to a nearby location can provide the necessary respite.” Nicole encourages farmers to take the time to disconnect, unwind, and breathe. “If you find it challenging to relax, even for a day, it might be a sign that you need to reassess your workload and delegate tasks more effectively.”

Consider reaching out to trusted individuals who can farm sit for you. “While it’s natural to worry about your animals falling ill or tasks not being done correctly, finding reliable caretakers can alleviate these concerns,” Nicole points out.

Creating a plan is crucial. Establish Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to outline your farm’s workflow, ensuring that anyone stepping in for you understands their responsibilities. Programs like the National Dairy FARM Program offer guidelines for animal care and farm management, helping you communicate your farm’s needs clearly.

By prioritizing your wellness as a farmer and implementing effective planning strategies, you can enjoy well-deserved breaks from the farm without compromising its operations. “Remember,” Nicole asserted, “Taking care of yourself is just as important as caring for your land and animals. So go ahead, plan that getaway, and return to your farm refreshed and ready to tackle any challenges that come your way!”

Cameron Burke is part of the Cornell Cooperative Extension Herkimer County team and works as a passionate advocate for nutrition security and sustainable food systems. With a deep-rooted belief that resilient food systems are built on the pillars of human connections, education, and grit, Cameron has dedicated herself to fostering a stronger bond between communities and the food they consume. As a local foods advocate, she promotes the importance of supporting local farmers, artisans, and producers, recognizing their invaluable contributions to the health and vitality of communities. With a genuine love for food and community, Cameron continues to inspire positive change and meaningful connections within the local food movement