Many farmers love having visitors, and appreciate seeing their farm through other peoples’ eyes. But to ensure the visit goes smoothly, here are a few loose guidelines to keep in mind:
1) Call first. We might be napping.
2) Show up when you say you will. Please don’t be late. At least call if you’re delayed. Bring cookies as a peace offering for your tardiness. In fact, bring cookies even if you’re on time.
3) Bring food. Speaking of cookies, farmers forget to eat, so we’re always grateful when someone waves a pan of lasagna or a loaf of homemade bread under our noses.
4) Leave your pets at home. Yes, I know Buster would love to run and stretch his citified legs, but chasing chickens and snapping them up and shaking them until dead just isn’t good Visitor Behavior.
5) Wear the ugly plastic boots. Even if you’ve never stepped on another farm your entire life, a farmer may ask you to slip a pair of clear plastic boots over your shoes. Disease can spread easily from farm to farm and devastate a flock or herd, so forget fashion and learn to shuffle-walk so the boots stay on. See photo above, where Melissa is modeling the latest in plastic boots.
6) Bring cookies. Oops, I repeat myself.
7) Raise well-behaved children. Yes, I know Bradley would love to run and stretch his citified legs, but chasing chickens and snapping them up and shaking them until dead just—oh, that’s the dog. Sorry. But really—if you don’t control your children, then the farmer must, and it tarnishes our carefully cultivated image as nice people.
8) Wear appropriate clothing. Don’t arrive in sandals or flip flops or, God forbid, barefoot, and expect your walk through a farm to be a pleasant experience. Of course, if you like the feel of duck poop squishing through your toes, who am I to judge.
9) Pay attention to gates. If you go through a gate that’s open when you get there, leave it open. If you go through a gate that’s closed when you get there, please close it behind you. If you’re at the tail end of a group of people and don’t know if the gate was open or closed, ask.
10) If possible, let us know you appreciated and enjoyed the tour. Two tickets on an Alaskan cruise would be nice. Or maybe new tires for the Farmall 706 tractor. Offer to farm-sit for a month so the farmer can step out and see what the rest of the world looks like.
Or, if none of these are within your reach, cookies would be nice.