Do you have a plan for having to leave the farm if an emergency arises, or do you just hope nothing will go wrong? Safer Farms’ General Manager, Tony Watson, suggests writing it down.
When it comes down to it, there are many things that can take us off the farm for an unknown period of time, from family emergencies, to a health problem or serious injury.
It’s always worth giving some thought to what would happen if you, or your key person, aren't available to work for whatever reason.
The key is to have a plan in place that will make it easy for people to know what you’d want them to do.
As farmers, it’s amazing how much information we have stored in our heads. We have everything from our daily plans and weekly tasks to monthly intentions and of course, our grand master plans, which are mostly never written down.
It can often lead to us thinking; “I can’t leave the farm as I’m the only one who knows what to do.”
Obviously, this depends on the size of the business – the bigger the farm, the more people you have to fall back on, pick up the load and move people around to cover.
For some, this isn’t possible so you need to have a network of people who could step in to help if needed. This could include trusted contacts such as neighbours, a consultant, a friend or former worker etc.
We can’t assume or rely on our partners to take over. Chances are, they’ll also be dealing with the emergency and or taking care of you or visiting you in hospital – they won’t have any time to commit to the farm.
For those who step in, it’s worth creating a list of key contacts for specific equipment such as the electrician, plumber, contractor and those who are familiar with your farm. We’ve seen many farmers benefit from keeping a rough plan like this up to date:
Even simple systems can make it easier for others in case you can’t be there and, taking a few minutes to put it up on a whiteboard in the shed can be really helpful.
It’s like an insurance or emergency plan. While you hope to not need to use it, writing it down gives you peace of mind should something happen.
It can also help to reduce stress and give you a better frame of mind to focus on getting work done safely and efficiently.
At the end of the day, it’s better to have a plan and not use it, than need a plan you haven’t thought about.
Article supplied by Safer Farms