I was at our neighbour’s place over the weekend. We have a lot in common as we both grew up on the land, and we both work with farmers. 
 
We were talking about how some farmers get very frustrated if they see or hear of a farmer ‘selling up.’ 
 
They may even refer to them as ‘quitters’ or ‘soft.’ 
 
I’ve got a very different perspective on this – if you don’t like it (or really love it), then why do it?   
 
My father finished school early because his father was sick. He took over the farm as a young 19-year-old. 
 
He had just returned from the Vietnam war, and his mother had tragically died soon after his return. So, at the time, farming seemed like the only option. 
 
I saw first-hand the stress and frustration that being a farmer had on dad. 
   
In saying that, he never complained about it. 
 
But when he was 54, his stress levels were significantly heightened. While some of this stress could be attributed to posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from the war, a lot of it also came from working long hours on the farm.  
 
He had reached his breaking point. 
 
The doctor said to him, ‘if you don’t slow down, you could die.’ Both of his parents died young from heart attacks. 
 
Dad sold up the farm. They moved to the coast. 
 
Was he a quitter?  
 
Was he soft?  
 
Or did this help save his life?

Here is what I saw after they moved: 

  • For the first time ever, dad was not carrying the stress of having an enormous debt. 
  • He was finally being able to relax and be himself. 
  • He was the happiest I had ever seen him. 
  • His relationship with my mum and his three boys was much healthier, and he was much better to be around.  
  • He realised that he was never really that passionate about farming, and if he had his time again, he might have considered a different career. 

So, next time, if someone says that they are thinking of ‘selling up’ and leaving, perhaps consider this the best decision possible for them. Maybe their best life is on the other side of being a farmer? 
 
Who knows, but why judge? 
  
Have a great week, 
  
Andrew 

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