Summer seems to be the time when farm life can take its greatest toll on our physical and mental health. As if daily farm life isn’t demanding enough, we have to add in a busy season, and, of course, it happens while the temperature rises.
As a Pacific Northwest native, I have no clue how you all in the Midwest handle your summer heat and humidity. You seriously have my respect for surviving those conditions. Here we sweat and moan when the temperatures reach 90°F with 40% humidity.
We are very lucky that these ideal dairy conditions make it easier on our herds as well. No matter the location, I know we are all better at making sure our cows are well situated for hot weather. We keep our cows cool with misters, fans, and specially designed ventilation in our barns. Their needs are always met before our own.
It is so important, though, that we keep tabs on our own physical health. Making sure to stay hydrated seems so simple, but honestly, I know many of us don’t keep up with that basic need. I’m also forced to acknowledge during the summer that the grueling busy season means our bodies need more rest. I know, easier said than done.
Mentally, I always find this season tough as well. Throw in the crisis of COVID-19, and many times it has felt like we are working so hard for nothing. Check in on yourself, your crew, and your farming friends. Even if it’s just a quick phone call or message, not feeling alone in this season goes a long way.
In this busy season of summer, don't forget to take a breather. Your mental and physical health is worth acknowledging even when you feel the rush of all that needs to be accomplished. Take care out there!
The author is a third-generation dairy farmer from Oregon where she farms in partnership with her husband and parents. As a mother of two young boys who round out the family-run operation as micro managers, Darleen blogs about the three generations of her family working together at Guernsey Dairy Mama. Abiqua Acres Mann's Guernsey Dairy is currently home to 90 registered Guernseys and transitioned to a robotic milking system in 2017.