Opinion: A cheerful wave or sympathetic ear this harvest season really does help

A little empathy will be much appreciated during this year’s long and difficult harvest

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Please don’t read this as a complaint; this isn’t meant to be a complaint.

With the recent snows in Alberta over the past two weeks, there are a lot of farmers on edge. So many farmers haven’t even turned a wheel in their fields, or if they have, they are either drying their grain or running fans to help their grain dry.

Related Articles

All this costs extra. And this is after a very dry summer that left many farmers with less than exceptional yields on their crops.

Farmers with grazing animals aren’t faring well, either. Dry pastures all summer, poor hay yields, and now with the snow, they are having to dip into their already poor (or expensive) hay supplies early to feed their animals.

Some fortunate ones still have pasture under the snow, but the cattle think it’s time to come home since it’s snowed, so cows and calves are crawling through fences. Others are trying to find a way to bring their cows home, but the roads and yards are a muddy mess or there are crops still in the field where they usually bring them home by or through.

So what am I asking?

I’m asking for empathy and patience.

If you see cows out on your drive, please slow down and be gracious. If you know who the cattle belong to, approach them with kindness — not with annoyance because you think they are being negligent.

Once the combines and trucks are able to start up again and you see them moving, please be courteous. Give them the right of way. Wave.

If you know of a farmer who is stressed out or struggling, approach them with empathy. Ask if there’s anything you can help with. Many farmers have a lot of pride and won’t accept help even when asked. Maybe drop a coffee off to them when you do see them out in the field, or invite them over for coffee if you know they aren’t busy now with the snow.

Offer something, even if you think it’s insignificant. I’m sure they’ll appreciate it.

All I’m asking for is that you read this and offer farmers you know empathy even if they aren’t dealing with Mother Nature’s hard blows.

Harvest is a stressful time for all without the complications from the weather.

Jill Burkhardt and husband Kelly operate Crooked Lake Farm, a cattle and grain operation near Gywnne.

About the author


Jill Burkhardt

Jill Burkhardt, her husband, Kelly, and their two children, own and operate a mixed farm near Gwynne, Alberta. Originally hailing from Montana, she has a degree in Range Management from Montana State University. Jill’s agricultural passions are cattle and range management but she enjoys writing and learning more about all aspects of farming.



Stories from our other publications