By Tim May
Farmers are notoriously hard to buy for. I’ve had a number of people ask me for ideas so I thought that I would share a list of unique things that I have received as “farmer-friendly” gifts over the years. Of course we always appreciate socks and underwear but it’s always fun to get something a little different. I am also price conscious. Not everyone can afford drones and new tractors.
Perhaps you are annoyed at the farmer in your life for leaving a trail of straw and dirt throughout the house? Boot slippers might be the perfect solution for keeping the peace in your household. Check out www.bigfootofmaine.com. Available for US $34.95 per pair.
It’s a myth that all dairy farmers love to wake up early. It’s especially hard for me. A dawn/dusk simulator light is the perfect solution. Why not wake up to a gradual, simulated sunrise? It makes a world of difference when starting my day. Available for $169 from northernlighttechnologies.com
Farming can be a lonely job so it’s always nice to be able to listen to music or podcasts around the barn or on the tractor. Little speakers link to your cell phone via Bluetooth. My son bought me my iHome speaker at BestBuy. Retails at $54.99.
Farmers are passionate about what they do and they are proud of their agricultural roots. Do you have any historic “junk” around the farm? Be creative and turn some old barn boards or rusty metal into something to treasure. My son dug an old tractor seat out of one of our fields and turned it into a clock for me.
Keep it local. Farmers take pride in the food that they produce so they are always flattered when someone gifts them back some of their hard work. As a dairy farmer, I love getting unique artisan cheeses made with 100 % Canadian milk.
I would love a heated shirt, jacket, mitts or hoodie that is run by a small battery pack. Heated clothing would help keep me cosy and also keep my muscles warm to help prevent strain injuries. Home Depot carries heat hoodies in the $130 range.
I have a huge collection of jackknives, partly because they are super handy, but mostly because I keep misplacing them. My absolute favourite knife is a folding utility knife. It’s a ‘cut’ above the rest. They are the best for cutting strings off hay bales and slicing balage plastic and mesh. They often come with extra reversible blades and make great stocking stuffers. I found mine at Canadian Tire for $12.
In this modern era of farming, cell phones are a must for most farmers. Most of you already know that a durable phone case is important but in this cold weather, a battery pack can come in handy. It only takes minutes for the cold to zap a cell phone of power. They are also great for long days on the tractor when you don’t have a proper phone plug. I got my Insignia charger at BestBuy (retails for $39.99).
We have a bigger collection of coffee mugs than we should have but there is one that stands out above the rest. It’s rugged and it keeps coffee hotter way longer than any other mug that we’ve seen. My wife loves her Zojirushi mug! I want mine in IH red. They retail on Amazon.ca for between $35 and $45.
I love weather gadgets. It could be a Galileo thermometer, a mini-weather station, a rain gauge, a thermometer, a barometer or my personal favourite gift from my wife — a storm glass. There are many shapes and sizes available. An APS Ltd. storm glass retails at apsltd.com for $165 to $180.
Okay, I lied. I couldn’t stop at 10 ideas but this one should be on everyone’s list. The truth is that farmers don’t really need gifts. They have everything that they want. They have animals to care for, land to nurture and families that love them. However, there is one thing that every farmer could use — the gift of understanding. Simply understand that we will sometimes be late for supper and we may smell a tad “barny” from time to time. Happy shopping everyone.