Young Farmer, freelance journalist and townie-turned-ag-enthusiast Charlotte Cunningham discusses the realities of being in a relationship with a farmer.
The word “WAG” (wives and girlfriends) draws connotations of glamorous footballers’ wives with expensive lifestyles. However, for all the ag WAGs – old or new – the reality couldn’t be more different…
1. There is no such thing as time keeping
My boyfriend and I often joke about the difference between ‘real time’ and ‘farm time’ – and there most certainly is a considerable variation between the two!
As an ag WAG, you quickly learn that ‘5 minutes’ will rarely mean anything under an hour, and if you want to be somewhere by a certain time, it’s best to tell your significant other you need to leave at least an hour before you really do.
2. If your relationship can survive moving livestock, it can survive anything
My first time helping to move cattle was… interesting?
I had one simple job – stay behind them on the quad bike and slowly push them down the road.
To cut a long story short, I somehow ended up in front of the herd, and they then of course decided to turn around and run the wrong way up the road. It was tense to say the least.
But, if you can survive the stress, swearing and sweating of moving cattle, there’s not much that you can’t.
3. Part-time girlfriend/part-time weather girl
Farmers are obsessed with the weather.
Is it going to rain? How long for? How much? They need to know the weekly forecast in detail.
You quickly realise how equally obsessed you become – checking the chance of precipitation on an hourly basis and praying daily for sunshine at harvest time.
(It’s also worth learning how to drive a quad bike/tractor/truck and be confident working with animals as this will be called upon at some point).
4. When there is livestock on the loose, you move – quickly
Whether you’re in the shower, asleep or in the middle of dinner, when you get a phone call to say there’s cows on the road, you go.
Therefore, it’s a good tip to always wear something semi-practical so you don’t end up running up a main road in your pyjamas, or helping to calve a cow in a skirt…
5. Cooking is an essential skill
They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, and there’s never been a truer word spoken when it comes to farmers – food is everything and meal times are an essential part of the day.
If you want to keep him impressed (and more importantly, his mother) beans on toast just won’t cut it.
6. Time is precious
Though life with a farmer never seems to run to plan, and time off is few and far between – the time you do spend together is precious.
Calving/lambing/harvest time brings long hours and late nights and sometimes that the only way you’ll see your partner is sitting in a tractor or helping with the livestock.
Farming is without a doubt one of the most demanding professions, and a farmer’s work is never really ever finished – but being a part of that gives you the most wonderful and rewarding life style.
Support, understanding and compromise is the key to making a farm relationship work. A relationship is about being a team – and team work is the key to making a farm work.