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Managing Stress On The Farm Or Ranch

By Kate Hansen

Farmers and ranchers are incredibly resilient. In many instances, they are used to addressing problems on their own, but there are some challenges we all can use a helping hand to get through.

As 2020 has shown us, some of the most stressful situations are those outside of our control. This year has been unprecedented in so many ways, including the many compounding stressors on producers. But, even before 2020, farm stress rates have been rising for a number of years.

This year started with low prices and bad markets, which was then met with a global pandemic and supply chain disruption. Add on extreme weather, from the drought to the derecho that impacted so many farmers in Iowa. Producers may be getting calls from their bank about a loan payment, or maybe their operation is under financial distress. The amount of stress on farmers and ranchers cannot be understated.

According to New York FarmNet, warning signs of farm stress might include:

  • Change in routines: Farmers or members of the farm family may change who attends a market, stop attending regular meetings or religious activities, drop out of other groups, or fail to stop at the local coffee shop or feed mill.
  • Decline in the care of domestic animals: Livestock or pets may not be cared for in the usual way.
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