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Published June 08, 2012, 12:00 AM

Mike Rosmann: Are farmers’ online dating services helpful?

Most single farmers and ranchers don’t like feeling lonely. They worry about finding a compatible partner who understands the rigors associated with raising crops or livestock and living in the country. Finding “the right person” can be difficult.

By: By Mike Rosmann, INFORUM

Most single farmers and ranchers don’t like feeling lonely.

They worry about finding a compatible partner who understands the rigors associated with raising crops or livestock and living in the country. Finding “the right person” can be difficult.

Because finding a compatible farm mate can be a daunting challenge, many singles have turned to online matching services for assistance.

Some matching services involve psychometric testing. Most dating services are free or paid services that offer introductions only.

Online dating services that specialize in helping farm and ranch people find each other have sprung up. Most of these can be found by conducting a search for farmer online dating services.

Are these services trustworthy?

I am not endorsing any particular online service. I want only to provide information that might be useful to readers who are looking for relationships themselves or know someone who might benefit. I recommend considering more than one site.

Lynn Woolf, who is affiliated with FarmersOnly.com, and I spoke on the phone for an hour. She kindly provided information to address some of the common questions and fears of many single farmers and ranchers.

FarmersOnly.com offers users free and paid services, depending on the level of assistance desired in looking for relationship introductions.

The site was started in 2005 by an agricultural marketing specialist to help farm people who were having difficulty meeting dating prospects.

FarmersOnly.com now has 200,000 members, of whom about 10 percent have entered serious ongoing relationships. About half of these relationships are marriages and most of the others are limited, by choice, to other types of committed relationships or friendships.

Lynn said 87 percent are involved in agriculture.

An equal number of men and women subscribe to FarmersOnly.com, Lynn says. Sixty percent are single, 35 percent are divorced and 5 percent are widowed.

The FarmersOnly.com staff reviews all profiles and encourages users to report dishonest subscribers. Nearly all subscribers, Lynn says, strive to be accurate in their descriptions of themselves.

The website provides tips about how to “talk straight” and publishes accounts of successful dating relationships. As the published stories indicate, some of the relationships were significantly tested before the two partners established enduring trust and comfort with each other.

FarmersOnly.com does not try to match suitors; it provides a way for people to meet each other. Photos are encouraged for the online profiles.

Searches can be launched for possibilities within a specific age range, geographic distance, marital status and desired outcome, such as friendship or longer-term relationship.

Having worked with farm couples and as a farmer in a

40-year marriage, I know finding someone compatible does not necessarily mean finding someone who is nearly the same as you.

A compatible partner often has different strengths and weaknesses. A partner who complements you can lead to a more sustainable relationship because the couple has more capacities when both partners are together.

Agriculture is a culture unto itself. That’s what makes farmer dating services useful.

Most people who did not grow up or experience any previous life on a farm or ranch know long hours of work can be expected when marrying a farmer or rancher.

But, they often do not fully understand the drive that motivates people to farm, and this failure can lead to other serious clashes in expectations.

Most people who undertake farming, ranching and related occupations do so because of what I call the “Agrarian Imperative.”

The Agrarian Imperative is a purposeful drive to acquire the territory and resources necessary to undertake agricultural activities that lead to the production of essentials for life – food, fiber and renewable energy.

It’s a noble endeavor, a deeply meaningful calling. Farming is more than simply living in the country.

It involves an instinctual urge to acquire land and make it produce. We can say, “Farming – it’s in our genes.”

There are times when the needs of the farm take temporary priority over relationships. But even the most dedicated farmers will be lonely if they routinely place more importance on the land and livestock than on their partners.

If they expect their partners to work without gestures of appreciation and if they ask for emotional support even though they don’t reciprocate it, the relationship probably won’t endure permanently.

It’s hard to find the right balance between the calling to carry out the Agrarian Imperative and the urge to have a willing partner. Farmer dating services can be a positive step needed to finding a friendship or true mate.


Mike Rosmann, who founded the nonprofit network AgriWellness Inc. in 2001, grew up on a mixed-grain and livestock farm in western Iowa. He serves on the adjunct faculty at the University of Iowa and teaches agricultural behavioral health to physicians, behavioral healthcare professionals and other providers who work with farm and rural populations.

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