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Dr Sarah Taber @SarahTaber_bww
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Have run audits on 100's of orchards. The *one* farm out of all of them that managed to deal w pest birds the cheap way by putting up kestrel boxes?

Also had a rock-solid relationship. It really set them apart from a lot of their neighbors. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
A lot of mom & pop farms put on this weird Gender Theater act during food safety checks. The audit starts out with the wife being super deferential to the husband, but it's clear he has no idea about any of the farm recordkeeping and she's doing all of it.
So really, *she* should be the one running the farm side of the audit. But neither mom nor pop could seem to bring themselves to actually put her in charge of it, bc that would mean... the man is not in charge of something? And that's Simply Not Done.
Until about 20-30 minutes into the audit, when pops would get exhausted & give up, finally leaving it to his wife to handle. (Muttering about "this is bullshit" on his way out was optional.) These dudes had no stamina at all 😂
The "Mental Health on the Farm" episode of the podcast- the one where @MegRaeB- gets into the whole Farm Gender Theater phenomenon.…
The farms where mom & pop struggled to work smoothly together were the most shambolic in their physical condition as well. And most of those "working smoothly together" problems came from the man on the farm being insecure about not being In Charge Of Everything.
It takes a lot of communication & trust to run a business. Especially farms- they're big & have lots of moving parts. Anything that gets in the way of clear communication & lines of responsibility will knock it flat. *Anything.* Including being real uptight about gender roles.
The rough thing w farms is it's a business where if it's going bad, it's not just the people suffering. It's land & livestock too.

Good land stewardship & animal welfare pay off- in the long run. So they're the first things to go when the humans aren't firing on all cylinders.
In contrast: there were also a bunch of orchards that *didn't* do Weird Gender Theater.

There was this one where they had a completely common gender division of labor (he did the farm/field mgmt, she ran their v small pack shed). And they just weren't uptight about it.
Most farm dudes keep hovering around even after they've completely checked out of actually *doing* anything during the audit, just so nobody forgets who's in charge.

This guy? Nah. Once we got to her part of the business, he was just like THAT'S MY GIRL & let it happen.
You know how a lot of guys feel threatened when their wife makes more than they do, but sometimes you get the guys w common sense who understand "if my wife is a baller, that just means there's MORE MONEY"? He was that guy. BDE for DAYS.

And their land stewardship was *chef kiss
It's real. When the folks on farms have demons they're not dealing with, those demons have a way of showing up on the land. And pocketbooks. Rural mental health is a way bigger deal than most of us probably realize.
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