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Christmas Gifts for Farm Employees

Christmas Gifts for Farm Employees

What to get for your farm employee for Christmas? Check out part three of the Christmas Gifting Series here!

There is nothing quite so valuable on the farm as a solid farm employee. Amen?

So with the clock winding down and with gifts for farmers secured and gifts for landowners figured out, here are a few ideas for showing your appreciation for a year's work well done. These ideas, gathered from farmers and ranchers across the country, will hopefully give you some inspiration.

And a note: I love the practical nature here. You can find all sorts of random ideas online – like an actual cookie made in your employee's likeness – but every farmer and farm employee I spoke with favored useful, practical items. Or, you know, just cash. Read on!

Cash: I know. It's obvious and maybe it seems cold. But everyone loves a little extra, especially at the holidays. It's not a bonus tied to production, nor to profit sharing. Just something extra, as a way to say thanks and well done. Also very common: cash with a little something extra, from the list below.

Farm gear: Hats, coats, sweatshirts, etc., with the farm name or logo. Always good with aforementioned cash bonus, and they can be extended to their family members: who isn't at least a little pleased with a pint-sized hat or coat for their little guys?

Concert tickets: A great idea for the college employee, assuming you have some degree of knowledge about their taste in music.

Restaurant gift card: A classic. Also great for young families.

Meat: This can come in a variety of forms. One farmer I spoke with took orders at the first of the month: spiral ham, bone-in ham, two pork loins, beef roast, steak, etc. – he lets them choose and delivers closer to Christmas. Other ideas: gift card to the local meat locker. For animal protein, all the year long.

Supplier gift baskets: Kilgus Dairy wins for both creativity and deliciousness: they sell milk directly to Chicago retailers, including a specialty chocolate shop. One year, Jenna Kilgus brought home gift baskets from that shop for everyone. I so want to work for her.

Getaway: How about an overnight (and meals) at a regional getaway? Something like the Grand Bear Lodge in Utica, Ill., comes to mind – complete with indoor waterpark. So great for young families.

Farm supplies: Some employees might also like a gift card to your local farm supply store, or even a Bass Pro Shop, if you have one nearby. Good local shoe stores are a good option, too, if they carry work boots or if you know your employee is a runner or has a special interest like that.

Cell phone: Whether this counts as a gift would depend entirely on how you structure your pay and benefits. On some operations, paying a cell phone bill might be part of the benefit structure; on others, it might be a great Christmas bonus.

Note: A late addition! TOY TRACTORS. I can't believe I didn't include this one, until one of our former employees reminded me. My husband has long given a really nice toy tractor to the young men who have worked for us seasonally - often high school kids during the summer and after school. As our friend said it best: "Money comes and goes but toy tractors last forever!" Amen.

The Gifting Series:

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