Host Katie Wantoch and Jenny Vanderlin, Associate Director of the UW Center for Dairy Profitability, discuss a farmer whose wife lost her off-farm job due and if she should do more work on the farm.
This is UW Extension’s Farm Management AgriVision Podcast. I am Katie Wantoch, Agriculture Agent with UW-Madison Division of Extension. I will be chatting with fellow Extension Educators as we answer questions from farmers and share our knowledge and expertise on how you can improve your farm management skills. Today, I am joined by Jenny Vanderlin, who is the Associate Director of the UW Center for Dairy Profitability. Welcome Jenny to the podcast.
Hi, Katie. Thanks for letting me do this with you.
Jenny, today’s question was submitted by a farmer whose wife was just laid off from her job as a bank teller because of Coronavirus. They are wondering if there’s something she can do on the farm while she is home. They have no idea how long this will last. They milk 55 cows and farm 250 acres on the farm where he grew up in northeastern Wisconsin. They are wondering if she should take over milking the cows. While he might do some custom planting and custom haying for neighbors. She already does feed the calves. They have a decent line of equipment and are in their late 20s, don’t have any children. Jenny, what are your thoughts?
Well, Katie, there are certainly many people losing their jobs these days as we move through this uncharted territory due to the pandemic. Individuals and businesses that are struggling can certainly feel overwhelmed at times due to a variety of emotions both at a personal level, and certainly as a couple and/or business partner. All of them and the responses that anybody may have for them are normal as your work and life transitions to adjust to what is going on. On the UW Madison Division of Extension’s COVID-19 response website, Extension Educators and Specialists have shared resources to assist farmers, farm families, businesses, and all community members. Financial decisions will most likely be the most difficult to answer. However, there are many ideas to explore and resources that the educators and specialists have put together for you to access as you move forward. Some questions to kind of ask is can either of you identify other cash flow opportunities? Are either of you equipped to analyze the financial loss that this will have on your farm business, household, and/or family living expenses? Do you need to start thinking about a partial exit or maybe even exiting altogether? It’s best to get help where and when you need it. Take one day at a time. Take deep breaths and start to have these conversations with your wife and as a couple.
Those are some great suggestions, Jenny, appreciate your time today. Thank you.
For more Extension AgriVision podcasts or resources to improve your farm management skills, check out farms.extension.wisc.edu. Thanks for listening.
Information in this article was originally published as part of the Agrivision column in the Wisconsin Agriculturist.
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