Impact of COVID-19 on Agriculture

Farmer is Reminded that Others are There to Help

Credit: Amanda Kaiser 

By Paula Peterson @PaulaPeterson

Right this very minute down on the farm we are hanging tough.

One of my favorite movies is “The Replacements.” There is a scene where the characters talk about quicksand and when one thing builds on top of another until you feel you are going under. Honestly, that is what the last couple of weeks have been like here on the farm.

Life happens, that is just part of the plan. However, there are times when one more thing and one more thing get to be overwhelming.

We started a recent week out with a trip to the ER with a close family member and a three-day visit to a delightful hospital in Lincoln, Nebraska. Just as that was completed my grandson fractured his foot. That was a day of urgent care, X-rays and an orthopedic visit (my daughter traded places with me during this time).

Don’t be afraid to reach out to your neighbors and let them know you are there for them.

The day was topped off by discovering my mother-in-law had passed away, so the evening was spent with the sheriff, paramedics and mortuary staff – all of whom were beyond wonderful to work with and truly made it as easy as possible.

It was not the best ending to an already stress-filled day. Added into this equation was a round of pneumonia in some of our calves. We ended up losing a few and needed to treat some others.

One thing I have noticed is farmers are the very first ones to go help a neighbor in need. But a farmer will typically do anything in his or her power not to ask for help. This was pointed out to me as I was asking a friend about whether I should write about what we were going through. I sent her a private message so I wouldn’t put it out there for the world to know and she laughed at me because she said it proved my point: I don’t like asking for help.

I am blessed to have strong faith, fabulous family and a host of friends. When I get to the point that I feel like I am getting covered in quicksand, I know I have someone to throw me a rope that will help me get out.

I feel like I need to do a better job listening to those around me and see if I need to have a rope ready for them. The one thing my grandpa always told me was there aren’t a lot of guarantees in life but one that he felt pretty confident about was this: “The sun will rise in the morning and with that sunrise comes the promise of a new day with a new set of challenges but also a new set of joys.”

We all need to take a few minutes from each day to think about what has gone right in the day and not dwell on what hasn’t. Weeks like this are hard to get through but I know I have to because life has more positives then negatives and I don’t want to miss them.

Don’t be afraid to reach out to your neighbors and let them know you are there for them. Listen to what they need you to do for them. Maybe it is a simple as having a cup of coffee and letting them share their concerns. Take time for yourself, read a book, go for a walk or eat ice cream… whatever brings you joy. I have found being able to control even small aspects of my day makes me feel like I am going to make it – things as simple as choosing what to make for supper.

We are all in this together and together we can get through anything. You got this!

Paula Peterson is a farmer in Nebraska and a member of the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Promotion & Education Committee and Grassroots Outreach (GO) Team. This column was originally published by Midwest Messenger and is reprinted with permission.

If you or someone you know is struggling emotionally or has concerns about their mental health, visit the Farm State of Mind website at farmstateofmind.org where you can find a directory of stress and mental health resources, treatment locators, tips for helping someone in emotional pain, ways to start a conversation, links to register for free, online farm stress training and additional resources for managing stress, anxiety or depression.

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