A little careful planning can help alleviate festive stress around the farm this Christmas writes Federated Farmers Senior Regional Policy Advisor Coralee Matena.

'Tis almost the season to be jolly, and yet Christmas is also a time of the year that sees a spike in marital breakdown and, for a great many people, an increase in feelings of stress and anxiety.

Stress, wherever it may come from, can create a tipping point for some and turn what should be a happy time to celebrate with family into a test of endurance.

Whether it be the financial pressure of present buying or shopping for food, extra hours invested now in planning will go some way to ensuring your farm and your family is ready for the festive season.


Successful farm management requires foresight, a willingness to sound out information about what you are likely to be facing, but most importantly, it requires time.

Read more from Federated Farmers here.

Recent weather temperatures prompted reports we are in for another long, hot summer.

Drawing up a summer or drought management plan, with specific actions and trigger dates, ensures decisions can be made before things reach a critical point.

Personnel considerations are also a driver of on-farm stress.

Early planning and roster development ensures employee needs are considered and minimum standards of employment are maintained.

To ensure employees are paid the minimum hourly wage, even in the busy times, and get their annual leave accrued entitlements, it is vital farmers maintain detailed time, wage and holiday records.

The Christmas and New Year statutory holidays require special attention.


While businesses close over the holiday period, most farms don't shut down, and therefore need to comply with the rules for statutory holidays under the Holidays Act 2003.

With only a month to go till Christmas, planning for things that we know about now, will put us in a better place to face the issues we don't know about yet, or have little control over.

Farming is often very isolated and it can be easy for things to get on top of us quickly.

Take time before the busy period to reflect on where you, your farm and your family are placed, and where you can utilise outside support to lighten the load.