Small meranda
Idaho County Extension Educator / University of Idaho

It’s time to pack your bags, secure your tickets and book flights. We are approaching holiday season as well as professional rodeo finals season. It’s time for some fun! Whether heading off to see long-distance family and watch football while consuming enough food to feed an entire family of four in one sitting or deciding where on the Las Vegas Strip to book a room for night three of rodeo entertainment and Cowboy Christmas shopping, it’ll be important to ensure certain things are in place to successfully accomplish these trips.

Ah, but wait, there’s a catch. Cows. In the cattle industry, it is a well-accepted reality that taking much-needed time off to get a break and travel is not always realistic and is often done sparingly. The unfortunate consequence of this is burnout, as well as missing out on gatherings and experiences. While many will say they love what they do, as they should, it’s vital to the overall well-being of individuals, families, employees and the industry as a whole that ranchers and farmers take well-earned breaks, regardless of what season that happens in.

Yes, the cows still need to be fed on Christmas morning. Yes, hay must be put up at the right time, especially before it possibly rains. Yes, fields need to be prepped for planting seasons. But when the possible opportunity arises to take off for a few days, producers should be prepared to seize it. Preparing a plan of what needs to be done and who could do it is the best start to creating these opportunities. Fortunately, the agriculture industry is neighborly, and asking a friend for help now often means you can repay in kind later. That way, everyone gets a break.

Health – physical, mental and emotional – impacts not only the individual producer, but affects how the agriculture industry successfully moves forward. Operations are often family-based, which adds to the heritage value of the industry, but can also add to the stress from time to time. Working with family is a blessing, but one that needs to include time apart to ensure the relationship continues to be positive and respectful.


It’s also important to recognize the need to recharge, perhaps by attending state and national conventions, allowing for the development of new ideas that will ultimately benefit an operation. Regardless of the timing or destination, it ultimately comes down to genuinely finding the time, making a plan and committing to taking a step away.