Visitors Coming to the Farm?

Visitors coming to the farm

If you’re like me, you love having visitors and showing off all the hard work you’ve put into your little hobby farm. However, sometimes visits can go awry when visitors come unprepared, ask hard questions, or even question why you are doing things a certain way. For today’s #farmtipfriday I’ll go through some of the most important things you can do when you have visitors coming to the farm to make sure everyone who visits your farm feels safe, informed, and you all walk away from the experience happy. 

Footwear

Be sure you inform your visitors that they will need appropriate footwear. I usually just say to wear close-toed shoes that you wouldn’t mind getting dirty. I don’t really expect visitors to do more than walk around, but because I live here it is easy for me to forget how dirty you can get by simply walking around in flip flops. Additionally, I like everyone to wear closed-toed shoes because there are hazards! Whether it’s a darn goat-head seed or a stray nail, I don’t want any accidental injuries occurring.

Visitors coming to the farm

There will be…

I also like to causally let visitors know that they will see, smell and here things that might gross them out or make them uncomfortable. I never want anyone to feel silly or stupid for being grossed out about stepping in poop or wondering what in the heck my rooster is doing to my hens. It’s important for you, as the guide, to be kind and patient as you answer questions and explain things that happen on the farm. You need to remember that while farm life is normal for you, it isn’t normal for the majority of folks out there.

Visitors coming to the farm

Hard Questions

A hard question I get asked frequently is, “How can you raise steers for meat? Doesn’t that make you sad?” Don’t shy away from questions like this. Think about how you would answer well in advance so you can express yourself clearly and kindly. My answer to this question varies depending on who I am speaking with but the general idea behind my answer is: we purchase the calves with that purpose in mind, we raise them with that purpose in mind, and we care for them with that purpose in mind. We feel like it makes us more grateful for our food and we enjoy the process of raising the animals. That works for our family, but it’s ok if not everyone who visits our farm feels that way.

Visitors coming to the farm

Why are you doing that?

Sometimes well-meaning visitors like to question a certain method you use on your farm and may even give suggestions on how you could improve. While this may be frustrating to you, try and remember where they are coming from. Often outsiders to a situation find it “easy” to analyze because they are unfamiliar with the day-in and day-out details. It’s like how everyone is the perfect parent before they have children of their own 🙂 . I try to patiently listen to questions or suggestions and then explain why I do things a certain way. I also try to genuinely think about the suggestions I receive, sometimes and outsiders perspective is the key to a brilliant solution!

Visitors coming to the farm? Follow these simple tips to ensure everyone stays safe and has a great time - even if they ask hard questions!

Along these same lines, sometimes you may need to agree to disagree. Many people are very passionate about their food but don’t often understand everything that goes into raising it. My take on food in general is very open: food choices matter and I am grateful to be able to go to the store and have a variety of foods and production methods to choose from, the same goes for my farm {read more about my philosophy here}. Sometimes I use a “natural” solution, and sometimes I take advantage of agricultural technology. To me, both are reasonable methods if you are able to achieve your desired result.

Visitors coming to the farm

In the end…

One of the major reasons I love having visitors come to my farm is because I love to teach. I love to show them what I do, and then explain how others do the same thing on a larger scale and why both methods are great. I love to answer animal science and agriculture questions and help people understand a topic I am deeply passionate about. And I also love making them good food to eat while they visit! Having visitors on the farm is so fun and fulfilling for me, I want you to have that experience too.

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