Ontario is home to over 25% of all Canadian farms. At last count according to 2016 Census, there are over 49,000 farms run by over 70,000 farm operators within Ontario alone and contrary to what some people may believe, we have yet to meet a single one who shuts down during the winter.
The job of a farmer never ends.
While the planting, growing and harvesting seasons of spring and summer are often the busiest time of year for most farmers, the winter is when our growers take stock of the previous season and start preparing for the next.
A farm operator wears many hats, especially during the winter.
THEY ARE MECHANICS
Some equipment can have hundreds of moving parts, each vulnerable to the wear and tear caused by heavy use. Winter is when the equipment is repaired and improved so that it will be ready for the next round.
SOME ARE THEIR OWN IT DEPARTMENT
Modern farming equipment could have integrated technology that requires its own type of maintenance when not in use including software updates. Many farmers also take advantage of web based technologies by having their own website and database that needs some attention throughout the year and winter is normally the best or only chance our farmers have to do so.
THEY ARE ANIMAL CAREGIVERS
The health and well-being of animals is a top priority for farmers who deal with livestock. Whether it be horses, cows, goats or chickens, special care and attention is required to ensure the safety of their animals. This includes making sure any water and feeding equipment is well maintained and in working order, especially during the cold weather, while at the same time ensuring the animals themselves are protected from the elements since frostbite can be a real threat.
THEY CAN BE SHIPPERS AND RECEIVERS
Some farms will receive many truckloads of material ahead of the spring planting season that all needs to be ordered, received, inventoried and organized in a timely manner.
THEY ARE PLANNERS AND STRATEGISTS
When they not busy executing their plan during the rest of the year, winter is when they are working on their next plan for the upcoming season. This involves researching new technology and methods that they can implement for more efficient and cost effective growing. They also take this time to review data from previous years so they can properly plan a new budget going forward.
So while we sit down to our holiday meals this year, let us not forget to thank a farmer. Just like us they too may be enjoying their own down time with family before getting back into the grind in the New Year.
Winter is here, but spring is just around the corner.
Free Professional Insurance Advice
Stay updated on industry or company changes that may affect your insurance coverage or buying decisions.
As a mutual insurance provider of both farm and auto insurance (in addition to business and home), we often get questions related to farm vehicles including when and why to register a vehicle with a farm plate.
Individually we all have different questions as we begin to emerge from lockdown:
• How can I stay safe?
• Are my clothes still in style?
• How do I lose the pandemic 15?
• Will there be a second wave?
• What month is it?
• What is that glowing hot ball in the sky?
If 2020 has taught us anything so far, it is that most of us need to work on being better prepared in the event of a supply chain disruption. Power and communication are certainly high up there in terms of priorities but there is nothing more important for our survival than reliable food supply.