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Wet Spring, Poor Ag Economy Magnifying Stress on the Farm

Cost, social stigma and embarrassment make it harder to seek help or treatment for mental health conditions

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Check the weather, check the markets, check stored corn, check your planter, check emerging crops (if you have any planted.) There’s a good chance farmers are leaving a critical “to do” off the list ... check on yourself.

In farming, there’s a lot out of your control, creating stress that can potentially lead to serious impacts on your well-being, even in a normal year. And there is nothing normal about the 2019 planting season. So, take a minute to assess your mental health, that of your family and even your employees.

After six years of low farm prices stress is at very high levels on the farm and it’s becoming harder to remain resilient with every new rain. Farmers and farmworkers recently surveyed said financial issues (91 percent), farm or business problems (88 percent) and fear of losing the farm (87 percent) impact farmers’ mental health. Other factors included stress, weather, the economy, isolation and social stigma.

The new national Morning Consult research poll is sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation. The poll surveyed rural adults and farmers/farmworkers to better understand factors affecting the mental health of farmers, availability of resources, perceptions of stigma, personal experiences with mental health challenges and other relevant issues.

Large majorities of rural Americans polled agreed that cost, social stigma and embarrassment would make it harder for them to seek help or treatment for mental health conditions.

Highlighting the need for awareness and training, the survey showed that farmers and farmworkers are less likely than rural adults in general to be confident that they would be able to spot the warning signs of a mental health condition (55 percent vs. 73 percent).

Need help identifying the signs and symptoms of stress? You can start here.

Or here is a list of state specific resources that can be helpful:


• Illinois Agriculture Mediation Program: 618/549-1200, ext. 1001

• Rural Services of Indiana, Inc.: 574/299-9460

• Iowa Concern: 800/447-1985

• Iowa Mediation Services, Inc.: 515/331-8081

• Kansas Ag Mediation Services: 800/321-3276

• Minnesota Farmer Assistance Network: 877/898-6326 or 651/201-6327

• Missouri Agricultural Mediation Program: 573/751-5520

• Nebraska Department of Agriculture Negotiations Program:800/446-4071

• Nebraska Rural Response Hotline: 800/464-0258

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