How Farmers Can Make the Most of the Winter Off-Season

Feb 22, 2024 2 min read

What should winter look like for farmers? After all, peak season typically comes in the warm months. But the work of farming and ranching continues in winter, even if the main growing season is over. There’s plenty more to do: paperwork, tax preparation, equipment repairs and much more. 

What else can farmers do in the winter to make the most of the off-season? These quick projects can help you organize and plan for planting season, so when the weather warms up, you’re ready to go.

Tackle Spring Cleaning Early

Paperwork and cleaning can pile up during the busy seasons, with little time to sit down and run through figures or keep everything tidy. That’s where winter comes in. During the winter, take some time each week to clear out clutter in your office, barn or storage. Prepare shelter supplies for horses and livestock that need to take cover. Make a list of winter chores and get them done. Create separate piles to donate, sell and toss — and then actually do it.

Connect With Your Community

Winter is a great time for farmers and ranchers to renew bonds with neighbors and friends. Attend a local farm or ranch association meeting to find ways you can connect with the community. This is a great place to catch up with others while also sharing new ideas for the season ahead and best practices.

Perform Routine Maintenance

Whether it’s regularly planned maintenance or unexpected repairs, winter is the ideal time to make sure your farm machines are in excellent shape. Create a farm equipment maintenance schedule to keep your tractors and trucks in tip-top shape. Thoroughly examine your fields and outbuildings and repair any damage to fencing or structures. 

Pay It Forward

You have a lot to offer, so share your knowledge and skills and connect with your community. People are interested in what farmers do in winter as well as the life of a farm throughout the year, and winter is a great time to share that knowledge. Visiting the local 4-H Club or helping to plan next year’s elementary school garden can be surprisingly rewarding. Whatever your interests, there is an opportunity to participate.

Get Inspired and Educated

Winter on a farm is an ideal time to get updated on what’s going on in the industry. Catch up on reading your trade magazines, association newsletters and industry websites. Learn more about insuring your farm. Check out podcasts about farming and ranching and learn from others. Are there any continuing education classes you’d like to take? Sign up for one! Plus, it’s an opportunity to connect with other farmers who use the winter season to learn and grow their business, and to think about ways to improve your own farm’s profitability.

Take Care of Yourself

Farming and ranching comes with its own unique challenges to physical and mental health. Winter can be a good time to assess your physical health while also caring for your mental health.

Review and Revise Your Farm Insurance Coverage

A lot can change from season to season. As your business and family evolve, so do your insurance needs. Review your insurance coverage to make sure your farm or ranch, machinery, livestock and home are properly protected

Want to learn more?

Contact a local FBFS agent or advisor for answers personalized to you.