On various social media sites, the discussion of whether or not to compensate kids for farmwork comes up a few times a year. There are different ways to look at this, and I want to share with you how we handle this in our family.

Winch christina
Dairy Producer / Fennimore, Wisconsin

The kids are part of the family, and every family member is expected to help on the farm. We are a team, and in order for the team to be successful, everyone has to work together. Our employees are also part of the team. Just like the employees have jobs, so do our children. Along with teamwork, we also want our children to learn fiscal responsibility.

I can recall one time as a young girl there was something I wanted to buy (can’t remember what), and my dad told me I had to earn it. It was about $20. He told me I could go out and pick strawberries with the rest of the crew, and he would pay me for what I picked. I got up early the next morning and picked the strawberries I needed to earn that $20. On the dairy farm, we don’t have work similar to that for the kids to do to earn money. They have chores that need to be done 365 days a year. My husband and I agree that it is fair to compensate them for their work. So how do we do this?

We have been giving them a paycheck on payday for a few years now. It started out at $10, twice a month, and is up to $25, twice a month. They are required to put one check in their savings account and they can cash the other. When they need money for something that we feel they need to purchase themselves, they have money for that.

Examples of things we make them use their own money on include presents for friends’ birthday parties, entry fees to the roller-skating rink, movie tickets and snacks if they go with a friend, treats at the fair, Sunday School offerings and Christmas gifts for family members. They also pool their money to purchase larger items that they need for showing cattle. It really touches me when they get their own money to donate to a charitable cause.


Our boys are 14, 11 and 10. They don’t all do the same amount of work, but we pay them all the same. Sometimes they argue that they should receive more. It’s at those times that we remind them that we are a family and a team working together to get the job done. It doesn’t matter who works harder. I also remind them that they have clothes on their backs, a roof over their heads, food in their tummies, items to complete 4-H projects and entry fees paid for the next cattle show.

You might disagree with me, but I feel that my kids are learning the value of hard work, teamwork and fiscal responsibility at the same time. It’s simple but works for us.  end mark

Do you compensate your children for farm chores? Share in the comments!

Christina Winch

PHOTO: One of Christina Winch's sons bottle feeds a calf. Taking care of the calves is among her children's chores, which they are compensated for twice a month. Photo by Christina Winch.