Impact of COVID-19 on Agriculture

It’s Okay to Open Up About Farm Stress

Podcasts / Newsline August 25, 2020

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Farm groups are working  to break the stigma behind farm stress and seeking help. Micheal Clements tells us it's important that farmers don’t carry the burden alone.

Clements: A myriad of issues over the last eight years has compounded farm stress, and the American Farm Bureau Federation says it is important farmers address the issue. AFBF President Zippy Duvall says over the last eight years, farmers have faced many stressors.

Duvall: We went from a really good farm economy to one that has started declining, we’ve got depressed prices, and then we have had natural disasters all over our country. Then, we’ve had a trade war and all the issues that went along with the trade war and now we’re trying to survive through a pandemic. So, we describe what agriculture has been through over the last eight years as the perfect storm.

Clements: Duvall recognizes that it is difficult for farmers to open up about stress.

Duvall: Farmers are tough guys, and everybody looks to you to be the rock. It’s just against our nature to talk about our feelings. The stigma that goes along with having stress and issues around stress is very strong in a rural community because there’s not many people there and when you try to find help it seems like everybody knows it, and that makes it very difficult for people to open up.

Clements: AFBF, National Farmers Union and Farm Credit have partnered with RFD-TV to produce a special program focusing on mental health.

Duvall: We recognize the stress that they were going through. So, we felt like it was important for us to do that. And we think it’s been a great effort to talk to our farmers, let them know that there is nothing wrong with sharing their feelings with somebody. And not just the person that’s going through it, but their family and friends that might notice a loved one or a friend going through a difficult time. We just want to get rid of that stigma and be able to provide the resources to help people.

Clements: Rural America Live airs on RFD-TV Thursday at 10 p.m. ET. Micheal Clements, Washington.

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