The 3Rs - Farm Family style


Roles - Responsibilities - Relationships

Harvest is a time when farm families need everyone to help out in order to get all of the jobs done.

Roles: Roles can be tricky to define as they can be less concrete than responsibilities. Roles might include things like, advisor, consultant or final decision maker. Family farms typically involve multiple generations, and harvest is often the time when people are asked to step into new roles. This also means others may need to step back to make space for these changes to happen. Navigating role changes can be complex and there is no one, best or right way to switch roles.

Responsibilities: Responsibilities refers to the tasks that need to get accomplished - cleaning combines, making meals, ordering fuel, paying bills. Harvest time challenges even the best organizers and time-managers. The time-sensitive nature of harvest dictates that families need to decide which tasks are put on hold and which tasks need to become a different person’s responsibility during the harvest crunch time.

Changing roles and responsibilities can lead to stress in relationships!

Relationships: In farm-family life business and personal life lines are sometimes blurred. Changing roles and responsibilities can lead to hurt feelings or misunderstandings - especially if these changes happen “on the fly”. A pre-harvest meeting can help to set expectations for the season and ensure that everyone is aware of what their roles and responsibilities will look like this year. Open communication reduces assumptions that things will remain the same and ensures that everyone understands any domino effects of shifting responsibilities. Pre-harvest meetings may be one-on-one meetings or involve the whole team at the same time; they can be formal or informal. No matter how they happen, doing the hard work up front helps to set farm teams up for the most successful harvest possible.