Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Sick Days


We all just worked through a couple of weeks of something that closely resembled the flu. ...in fact Liz and the boss are still a bit under the weather. She just plain feels miserable and he coughs night and day.

However, none of us missed a milking. We didn't feel that we could. It is typical of farmers, who have animals and family members depending on them, to force themselves to work, no matter how sick or injured they may be.

Thus broken bones, concussions, and yes, even the flu, are not used as reasons for sleeping late and eating chicken soup. I will never forget when my late mother-in-law slipped on a grape on the kitchen floor and broke her her arm. She was in her eighties at the time. Not only did she forgo medical treatment, wrapping it in a towel and taping it up, but it was no time at all before she was prepping cows with her good arm. You could NOT keep her out of the barn.

Turns out that this situation is the industry norm. Dairy Herd had an interesting article on this study, about who takes the most and the least time off from their jobs for illness. 

I was delighted, if not surprised to read that, while farmers are among the least physically healthy in the nation, they are among the most emotionally healthy. Despite the challenges offered by the industry they feel respected and valued. 

And what's not to like about working outdoors surrounded by God's creatures, beautiful scenery, and since 98% of farms are family owned and run, your own family?

***Meanwhile state legislators are trying to unionize farm workers and make sure they get lots of time off no matter how urgent harvest matters may be. If this effort was being led by the NY's own farm employees I would get right behind it. However, it is downstate legislators and imported farm worker spokespeople leading the charge to promote the so-called Farmworker Fair Labor Practices Act. Here is New York Farm Bureau's take on the matter.

8 comments:

lisa said...

Animals don't have sick days, so I guess their owners don't either!

Rev. Paul said...

Unionize farm workers? What an incredibly bad idea.

Throwback at Trapper Creek said...

You would not believe the number of "new" farmers we have met in the last 15 years who never work weekends and take several vacations during the growing season! I suppose veggie farmers can afford to do that, but I wouldn't trade places with them for the world.

Hope you're all on the mend soon!

thepoodleanddogblog said...

I was surprised to read that farmers are the least physically healthy. That is not my experience with friends who are farmers. But glad to see that they feel valued.

Cathy said...

Your mother-in-law was quite a woman. Now that is grit.
Seems it runs in the family.

That scene is lovely. You are blessed.

threecollie said...

Lisa, exactly right!

Rev. Paul, I haven't gotten as involved this time as I have in the past...they bring this up every couple of years...but the last time, workers in NY were HORRIFIED by the bill. They like to rack up the hours and the big bucks while crops are ripe. NY has a real short growing season. If farmers have to pay OT, they will just hire two guys...leaving somebody out a lot of money or working two jobs. Stupid, stupid, stupid. But what does a Kennedy know about farm work? And this is Kerry Kennedy's pet project.

Nita, we know some mixed dairy and beef folks who hire all their help and vacation like it was their job. The times they are a-changin' I guess.

Jan, no healthcare for many of them. And lots and lots of stress. Dangerous work, little rest....it mounts up after a while.

Cathy, she was utterly amazing and I didn't appreciate her enough while we had her. And thanks...dawn is a fine thing in May!

Terry and Linda said...

I'm not surprised...and I know you aren't either! And I think you could throw in Ranchers in the lot...animals come first and plants...

Linda
http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com
http://deltacountyhistoricalsociety.wordpress.com

threecollie said...

Linda, it did actually lump farming, ranching, fishing and lumbering in the mix of those who don't take time off.