Taking one day a month to “have fun”

Sunset in Kuznetsk Alatau, South Siberia. Dmitry A. Mottl (photographer) & User:Tom_dl Spending at least one day off a month, or more is one of the most important items in operating a successful farm business, according to Albert Nunes, a CPA with Genske, Mulder & Co. from Modesto, Calif., who made a presentation on financial strategies to get through tough times during the Indiana Livestock, Grain and Forage Forum last week. In terms of family life, reducing the stress load and keeping a positive attitude, a vacation day or a bit of time off once a month can be tremendously beneficial, he explained.

So what does a vacation day or time off look like for a “typical” ag producer? For some, it may be spending a day with family, whether that be playing games, renting a movie or working on a family project such as a treehouse. Or, I happen to know quite a few farmers who enjoy an occasional nine holes of golf. My husband and I enjoy taking country drives and visiting with friends who live across the Midwest.

Growing up, my father who operated a small-scale dairy and grain operation enjoyed horseback riding, camping, fishing, skiing and traveling to cattle shows. Although, it wasn’t always easy to get him to finish chores and get in the car, we managed to take several family trips throughout my childhood.

If you’re still looking for ideas, I’d encourage you to contact your state tourism office, as they generally offer numerous promotional items and maps on wine tours, popular local tour attractions, parks, restaurant and hotel information. Find something you love to do for fun (outside of the farm) and make it a point to give yourself a vacation day once and a while.

Perhaps you love watching NFL football … get tickets to a game in the fall, I would recommend the Indianapolis Colts! Maybe you’ve always wanted to see the Grande Ole Opry … travel sites such as Expedia, Travelocity, Kayak and Orbitz are great for finding travel and vacation deals, especially at the last minute.

My final recommendation, design a “down time” yearly budget for 2010, and make it happen. For you. For your family. For your sanity!