Advice for Farmers
“Learning the word ‘no’ is a big thing, and not being afraid to use it. Do not over-pressure yourself.”
“To start with, I used to please anyone and everyone, whereas now, I am like ‘actually no’. It is about juggling and not being afraid of the word no.”
Those are the sentiments of Sophie Bould-Lynch, Devon, who spoke during Farm Safety Partnership’s recent webinar on pre-harvest safety.
The NFU Student and Young Farmer Ambassador told attendees that through her work as a relief milker, general farm worker, Red Tractor auditor for dairy, beef, and lamb farms and M&S auditor, she “sees lots of different farms and lots of things to do with handling and moving livestock, health and safety”.
Given her vast experience, she provided four main tips for farmers, which focused on:
- The importance of sleep;
- Taking a break during work;
- Knowing when to say ‘no’;
- Enhancing safety when handling livestock.
Elaborating on her first point, she said: “Get a good night’s sleep. I know for farmers, it is stressful. I know, especially if I am coming the next day to do an audit, that you do not get sleep.”
“If you do not get sleep, then you do not function properly. It is just the base of things. Even if getting sleep means getting an hour at lunchtime in the middle of the day, take that time for yourself.”
Taking a break
“Secondly, at home, my boyfriend has a beef and dairy farm. When we do silage, we have two blocks of land. We do the first block before lunch and the second after lunch.”
“What we do at home, we stop for lunch. Everyone gets out of the tractors and sits and has lunch together. It is normally a 30-40-minute stop, and equally, everyone has gotten out and stopped.”
“They do the common thing farmers like to do, and that is talk. They talk about everything and anything, and there has been a couple of times where I have dropped in where I have noticed people are saying, ‘oh, I just feeling a bit tired; I am glad that I got out, literally just to stop.”
Safety when handling livestock
She said that through her on-farm visits, she noticed changes when constructing pens or upgrading existing livestock pens.
One common development she has seen is a small escape passage for optimising safety when handling cattle.
She explained: “I think something as simple as that [makes a difference] because when you are handling livestock, you never know what will happen, and you want to be safe at all times.”
Having a small passageway gives you that “extra sort” of security and safety, she said.
Advice for Farmers: Saying No
Lastly, she told attendees that it is about “juggling” their commitments and not being afraid of the word no.
People, she explained, do not want to let other people down, but actually, you are just letting yourself down at the end of the day.
“I will say: ‘No, sorry, I am not feeling 100%’ or ‘No, sorry, I have something else that is more of a priority’. However, is not about saying no completely and not being able to assist at all.”
She stressed that you need to learn that “you cannot please everyone” and that she has “learned that the hard way.”
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