April 17 2024 10:35 AM

Our team works hard, so it pays off to have some fun at the farm, too.

I can’t read that title without mimicking Heath Ledger. But seriously, why are farmers so serious? I know farming is intense; I live it every day. In the last month, we’ve had a cow with a uterine prolapse, a milk vein rupture, and a cow trying to calve with an undilated cervix. That’s all pretty serious. So, I get why there are times that we need to be more serious than others, but what about the rest of the time?

Farming is my second favorite ‘F’ word. Do you know what my favorite ‘F’ word is? Fun. I love to have fun. Sometimes, I think people think having fun has to be this big, planned out thing. Yes, vacations are fun. Yes, parties are fun. But why not try to make every day a little fun? It doesn’t take much, but it can make a huge difference in your day and overall farm morale. It can make employees feel like family.

If you’re looking for examples, I can tell you a few of the things we do. For birthdays, everyone gets a Dairy Queen Blizzard Cake of their choice, complete with candles and singing. It gives everyone a break for at least 30 minutes, and we all get ice cream cake! Something my brother and our milker started doing a few months ago is writing fun trivia facts and jokes on the dry erase board in the office. At first, I didn’t think anyone else was paying attention to them, until a few weeks in when people started writing back.

If you want to be extra fun, get in the holiday spirit. The day after Easter, we hid plastic eggs filled with candy all over the farm. Over the course of doing morning chores, our team found eggs in the skid loader, on top of hay bales, and in the calf barn grain bin. We had fun hiding them, and they had fun finding them. Plus, we spent all morning texting each other when they found particularly well-hidden eggs. I must admit, the pile of candy was rather impressive.

Then there’s the little things like stocking the fridge with Gatorade or buying everyone egg McMuffins for breakfast every once in a while. We all work hard; why can’t we play hard, too?

Jessica Peters

The author dairies in partnership with her parents and brother at Spruce Row Farm in Pennsylvania. Jessica is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University, and since 2015, she has been active in promoting dairy in her local community. You can find her and her 250 Jersey cows on Facebook at Spruce Row Dairy or on Instagram at @seejessfarm.