Agriculture has always been a big part of my life. Growing up on a farm is a very unique experience, and I would not have changed it for the world. There are many aspects of agriculture that makes it so different than other businesses. One element that is different is the prevalence of family. In fact, 97 percent of beef farms or ranches are family-owned. 54 percent of these farms and ranches have been in the same family for three generations or more!
I am pleased to say that my brother has returned to be the next generation on our operation. The dedication he shows to continuing the legacy is astonishing to me. In addition, one of our extended cousins and his family recently moved from Las Vegas to Wyoming to be a part of the farm. You can read about their adventures here. It can be tough to work together as a family sometimes, and here are the biggest things I personally have learned from working with my family:
- Everyone is good at something: My brother can rally people together to work towards a common goal like you wouldn’t believe! My mom is great at keeping things in perspective. My dad is a master problem solver. Everyone brings something to the table, and everyone has different strengths and weaknesses.
- Keep your cool: It is very easy to want to snap at one another when working together (especially with the family dynamic). In order to keep your relationships in good standing (both family and work), it is important to be patient with one another.
- Stay humble: We are all working together. It is important to stay humble (especially if you have been placed in charge of a project!). It is much easier to work with one another if everyone is courteous to each other. Never refuse to do a job because it is “below you.”
- Keep the end goal in mind: It can be difficult to work with each other sometimes. Situations can get tense, but it is crucial to always remember that everyone is working toward a common goal.
- Be true to your word: If you say you are going to do something, then do it! We all rely on one another, and trust is critical.
- Always try your best: Murphy’s Law (everything that can go wrong will go wrong) always seems to catch up with us! Just because you are having an off day does not mean that you are a failure! It just means that you should dust yourself off and try even harder.
- Be flexible: It is important not to get too upset when things do not go your way. So much of agriculture is outside of our control (cows can get out, machinery can break down, or hail could demolish a crop) that it is better to just go with the flow. For example, it never fails that machinery breaks down in the middle of harvest. Typically, we need the problem fixed as soon as possible. However, sometimes things are out of our control and we can’t even get the parts in for a few days. It is important to be flexible, because sometimes the situation is simply out of your hands.
- It is okay to take a moment for yourself: I am always taken aback by how beautiful the land is. I am especially reminded of it when I am alone doing work in a pasture. It is okay to take a few moments and just take it all in every now and again.
At the end of the day, it is important to remember that we are all family. I wouldn’t trade the experiences I have had working with family for anything.
Happy Meaty Monday!