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FOMO: the fear of missing out on HARVEST

We are officially in the middle of September and the days are getting shorter, crops are changing from green to yellow to brown, and the temperature is cooling off. This means that harvest is nearing/or has officially started. In our rural community, the majority of people personally know or are associated with farmers that harvest their crops in the fall. We see big combines, tractors and trucks in fields. It is one of the most exciting times of the year because farmers are getting ready to harvest their crop that they spent so much time tending to. Those with livestock are harvesting feed for winter storage to care for the animals for an entire year. Harvest isn’t just a practice, it really is a lifestyle for many in our community. It also is a time when the most help is needed on the farm. Many times this includes part time help and family members who have off farm jobs.

For many this time of year can also feel isolating, lonely, and leave them feeling left out of the inner circles of farmers. Therefore, this blog post is aimed to normalize those feelings and to help everyone know that each person associated with harvest whether a “big” or a “small” role is essential during this time of year.

When harvest rolls around it is all hands on deck, but some who aren’t actually sitting in the combine, chopper, trucks, or tractors don’t feel like they are of any help to the harvest crew. Hence, they fear that they are missing out on helping with harvest (FOMO). There are a lot of significant others, siblings with off farm jobs, and other employees/family members not working day to day on the harvest crew that are often left with all the remaining life tasks that get neglected when farmers are in the field. These tasks of tending to the livestock, doing the mechanics work, caring for children, keeping the house in order, cooking meals, and even attending social events alone can really weigh on those that aren’t harvesting. There are also many family members and friends that will help with harvest after their full time jobs. All of these roles are absolutely essential to a successful harvest season even if those people aren’t sitting directly in the seat of the combine.

Tabby has some experience with FOMO. “In my experience I occasionally feel the “FOMO '' as the chopping crew leaves the driveway and I am left at home to tend to everything else that needs accomplished that day. When I feel this way, I have to remember that everyone is important in helping the crew succeed. I care for all the animals and I make sure all the people in the harvest crew are cared for too. I have spent many hours scrolling through crock pot recipes on Pinterest to make sure I have a hot meal and cold drinks for those harvesting when they finish for the day.” Again, all work is important.

Kendra’s experience is a little different. “Being a family member with a full time job my feeling of FOMO really kicks in this time of year. Each day I go to work early and work all day to come home and continue working on the farm regardless of how tired I am. I sit at work all day struggling to concentrate because I am thinking about being on the farm working and helping each day. Finding the separation and balance between doing both is tricky because you want to excel at both. I am lucky enough to work for a company that allows me to work 4-10 hour days so I can have an extra day off to work on the farm. What Makes me feel better is knowing that I am able to give my time to help and get things done regardless of what I am doing.”

We also want to take space for those family and friends that don’t work full time on the farm but still show up and support the crews. Those full time on farm cannot imagine how hard it is to maintain two work identities. You wake up early to go to one job and stay late at another. Your support is never thanked enough, so THANK YOU!

To those parents, friends, and other support people, thank you for providing child care, food, and supportive words during the long hours. I know it is hard to be away from all the harvest action, but nothing would get done without you!

Finally, we wanted to encourage farmers to intentionally include their family and friends during harvest. Many who were born on farms and moved off would really love to be a part of all the excitement of harvest. They do not know if they are welcome to ask if they can help or don’t know how they can be a part of the process. With safety always in mind, allowing others to be a part of harvest can be joyful and create an even tighter community.

With this all being said, we hope everyone has a safe and successful harvest. No matter what role you play in the process you are valued and important!


Olivia, Tabby, Gina, & Kendra

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