No self-respecting professional would dream of tackling a day’s work without the proper equipment, gear, tools and wardrobe. What’s a lawyer without a suit and briefcase? Or a nurse without comfy shoes and scrubs? Or a painter without brushes, drop cloths and paint splattered duds?
So too must we consider the well-equipped farmer. He will have clothing that meets the needs of each season, is task appropriate and is going to keep him safe. No dangling sleeves or loose shoelaces to get caught up in the PTO please.
The calving season ensemble will be accessorized by shoulder length gloves of the transparent plastic variety. A parka and felt lined boots will guard against frostbite during the middle of the night cow checks. Depending on the weather, headgear may be either a toque or a balaclava.
Spring means rubber gum boots, ball caps, a denim chore coat and a visibly lighter gait if there’s just enough moisture but not too many potholes. Specialty jobs like spraying require safety gear like goggles, masks, and rubber gloves and boots. To do less is to court danger and respiratory or skin problems.
Summer is haying season. Depending on the age of the farmer that could mean a muscle shirt and cutoffs or more likely jeans and either a t-shirt or work shirt. I suspect very few farmers wear sun screen, which is dangerous given the hours spent outdoors year round. Footwear ranges from runners to cowboy boots to steel-toed work boots. Sandals would be a definite no-no unless our farmer is sitting on the deck with a cool beverage. Mosquito repellent with DEET is the order of the day if doing any fencing or cattle moving.
Fall means harvest and long, hard days of frantic activity. It’s also probably time to pull out the old quilted, plaid flannel shirt.
New jeans, denim jacket and a western shirt are perfect for the Farm and Ranch Show, CAIS information meetings, groveling in front of the banker, or having coffee with friends. A fundraiser at school, a trip to Edmonton or a local dance may bring out the black jeans and boots and a new ball cap.
Perhaps the single factor most likely to change the look of our guy is hope. The imminent (?) reopening of the border would go a long way to lifting spirits. The financial windfall from all the seismic and exploration work has either kept the wolf away for some or allowed for extra projects or travel for others. Good moisture levels, fair commodity prices, a rebounding cattle market and cost containment may put a smile on more faces this spring. With the scandalous farm injury and death rates, dressing for the job has never been more important. Farming is dangerous work. We owe it to the ones we love to take farm safety seriously. That means equipping him with the right stuff for the job. That will ensure that this professional is good to go, from where I sit.
*Reprinted with permission