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HERd management: What to buy a farmer for Christmas

Kelli Woodring Published on 10 December 2013


If you’re anything like me, you love Christmas. I actually enjoy the shopping and picking out gifts for the important people in my life.



The only problem is that most of the important people in my life are farmers.

Usually farmers are “simple” people, and they don’t care for the “frills” in life. They like things to the point. If you ask them what they want, you probably won’t get a real answer. That is what makes Christmas shopping hard for them. What do you buy for the most selfless people you know?

My usual choice for people who are difficult to shop for is a gift card, but let’s be honest, it is kind of a cop-out gift. I want to get something good for the hardest-working people I know, because they deserve it.

It seems like I have this problem every year with my dad. I ask him what he wants for Christmas, and he always says, “You don’t have to get me anything.” I like challenges, and that makes me want to get him something awesome, but I never do.

I just can’t find the perfect gift. I know even while you are reading this, I am still struggling to try to find a present for my dad. He and my mom always made the time to make Christmas special for me as a kid.


They would rush to the barn in the morning and get all their work done so they could come home to an excited little girl waiting anxiously to open her presents.

I understand now that it wasn’t about what they bought me; it was the look on my face as I opened the presents that gave them satisfaction. Now the tables are turned, and I want to have the same feeling watching him open his gift.

He always tells me about when he was a kid, the only thing his family could afford for Christmas was a crate of oranges bought from the FFA. That is what he got for Christmas: oranges. The most surprising thing about the story is that he didn’t expect anything else; he was happy with oranges.

It makes me wonder why our society puts so much pressure on Christmas. Some families spend thousands of dollars they don’t have to buy presents they don’t need. Yet my dad was content with having a delicious meal and spending time with his family for Christmas – and not having 20 presents under a tree.

Maybe, as ridiculous as it sounds, if you are still shopping for that last-minute present for a farmer in your life, you should just relax. It really doesn’t matter what you get them. If they are privileged enough to have someone in their life who worries that much about them, that is all they really need.

Buy them whatever you want, but being part of their support system through the entire year is more important. As much as they’d like to think so, no one farmer can do everything alone, so be there when they can’t.


What they don’t need is a gift they will never use. What they need is someone who sees them struggling and is there to contribute whatever they can.

Even simply helping them put the cows away after they broke the fence in the middle of the night is a better gift to them than a $40 gift card to some restaurant they don’t even like.

So if you’re like me and you’re still searching for that perfect gift for a farmer, you can breathe easy knowing that having you in their life is enough for them.

Sometimes the best gifts in life cannot be boxed up and put under a tree. Farming is about commitment, responsibility and hard work, none of which comes with frills and bows. PD


Kelli Woodring

Dairy Producer
Shippensburg, Pennsylvania