Get out the 'tillage tool' and bury the bitterness

Sometimes people just need to get out the "tillage tool" and get some of the disagreement and bitterness buried so that the farm can move forward and not have to deal with all the trash.

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Myron Friesen

I am getting ready to start combining real soon on our farm. I absolutely love combining, but actually, I like to do tillage as well. I like it because I don’t have to think a lot, so I can multitask by working on estate plans or making phone calls while I let the tractor drive its straight line. I look back and the stalks disappear and I start thinking ahead to next year.

Day after day, I think about the appointments, and nearly every estate and family has something that bothers or disturbs them. Some of the problems are brutal, such as divorces, vicious verbal attacks, financial debacles, fighting siblings and obnoxious in-laws. Other problems are more subtle such as unpaid family loans, the tone of voice used, lack of respect, lack of thankfulness and an entitled mentality.

Fortunately, in farming, each year we do get a new start. Sure, from year to year there may be some problems that carry over, like harvest delays or unfinished tillage. Imagine in farming if we had to deal with 20 or 30 years of carryover problems! That would not only be depressing, but it would also end up in a disaster. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what some farms are dealing with when estate planning. Years and years of trash that never gets buried. So are there any solutions? Well, here are a few, and you can choose the ones that may or may not apply to you:

Talk about it. For some they might say “we’ve already tried that and it usually ends up in screaming, cussing and people walking away from the table.” If that’s the case, clearly that’s pointing toward a lot of issues that probably didn’t just develop overnight.

Deal with it. Some people harbor anger and bitterness for years and can never deal with it. They still get angry and hold a grudge about something that happened 30 years ago. Maybe it is time to deal with it.


Does someone need to put their pacifier back in? Pacifiers are amazing. A little child is screaming at the top of their lungs and a pacifier gets put in their mouth and the screaming stops. Most people outgrow the need for a pacifier. However, in some cases I just want to say, "Put the pacifier back in your mouth and quit whining."

Move on and go to the next option. Nearly anything can be accomplished when people resolve to accomplish a goal. However, for some, the smallest obstacle can create the largest problems. Some families may need to realize that something’s not a match and go to the next option.

Who needs to grow up? Sometimes that’s parents making life miserable for their children by never communicating and outlining the plan. Sometimes the 25-year-old child is trying to tell their 55-year-old parents how everything should be done, right now.

Quit enabling bad behavior. If someone’s acting like a pouty baby and stomps, cries and whines until they get their way, why do people keep putting up with that? Everyone around is miserable and is operating on pins and needles. I am amazed how some people continue to accept bad behavior! By the way, that can apply to children or parents.

Boy, am I sounding kind of grumpy today? Not really, but to be clear, sometimes people just need to get out the tillage tool and get some stuff buried so that the farm can move forward and not have to deal with all the trash.

Myron Friesen is the co-owner of Farm Financial Strategies Inc. in Osage, Iowa. He can be contacted at 866-524-3636 or

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