Managing time is one of the biggest challenges, one producer said
By Diego Flammini
With Father’s Day this Sunday, Farms.com connected with two dads in the Ontario farming community to discuss the best parts about being a farm dad, pieces of advice for new dads and how fatherhood has changed them.
Alan Nanne (AL) and his wife Dana are raising their almost one-year-old daughter Claire on dairy and cash crop farm in Lanark County.
Nick Huitema (NH) and his wife Cindy are raising their children Stephanie (30), Nicole (29), Charlotte (26) and John (24) on an egg farm in Haldimand County.
Farms.com: Describe where you were when you found out you were going to be a dad for the first time. How did it make you feel?
AL: I think I was at the kitchen table. We were building a new barn in 2019 and we were so busy with construction. When Dana told me, I was so excited.
NH: I found out around Christmas in 1989. My wife and I were overjoyed.
Farms.com: Describe the feeling of holding your newborn for the first time.
AL: It’s a surreal feeling and it makes you take a step back and appreciate things a little differently.
NH: It’s a miracle. I can remember the nurse coming to me and saying “Mr. Huitema this is your daughter.”
Farms.com: What’s the best part about being a farm dad?
AL: You’re able to see your kids throughout the day compared to if you had a 9 to 5 job.
NH: I was there every morning at breakfast and because I’m my own boss I could go to all of their school activities and sports games. And on the farm you can have them with you in the barns and in the tractors.
Farms.com: What’s the hardest part about fatherhood?
NH: Trying to guide them in their career choices.
AL: Balancing family time with work time and the farm business.
Farms.com: What’s a misconception people have about fatherhood?
AL: I’m not sure.
NH: That it’s too much work. But in the end, the rewards are much greater than any negative parts.
Farms.com: What’s your dad’s name? What are some special memories you have with him?
AL: My dad’s name is John.
NH: My dad’s name was August. I remember how hard he worked.
Farms.com: What’s one lesson you learned from your dad you try to teach your kids?
AL: I’m going to try to teach Claire good work ethic and taking responsibility for the job at hand.
NH: My dad taught us to watch the pennies because if you don’t, you’ll be working for someone else.
Farms.com: How has fatherhood changed you?
AL: It encourages you to prioritize family, so that means the farm takes a backseat sometimes.
NH: You find yourself sacrificing things you’d rather do for your kids. And that’s okay with me.
Farms.com: What’s one thing all dads have in common no matter where they are in the world?
AL: Wanting the best for their children.
NH: A responsibility to look after their children until they can look after themselves.
Farms.com: What’s one piece of advice you have for new dads?
AL: Appreciate the time you have with your children and live in the moment.
NH: Spend as much time as you can with them while they’re young. Before you know it they will be on their own.