By Sarah Noggle, Ohio State University Extension
In trying times, where do you turn?
Farmers are some of the most humble, down to earth people I know and they thrive on being able to feed the country. The stresses these farmers and farm families are enduring and hard on everyone involved. While they know that they work in a business where risks are always present due to weather, they sometimes need support and encouragement to work through their own mental and physical stress and even fatigue during these times. Most of the farmers live on the land they farm and don’t have the chance to get away from these stresses. Most of us that work, work at a place that when it gets stressful, we get to leave for the day. Farmers, on the other hand, don’t usually have this option. They live, sleep and breathe their occupation.
There are so many decisions that farmers are making today into what this generation knows as uncharted territory. They are worried about wet weather, how will I feed my livestock and where will my income come from? Maybe you are a farmer reading this or maybe the farm wife, the neighbor, the family member or an agribusiness person, but one thing is for sure farmers are the heartbeat of many communities. I am asking you who are reading it to take into account some steps outside your normal routine.
- Slow down and breathe — farmer, farm family or other — we live in such a fast-paced world. There are decisions that are being made that affect so many people. We are truly all in this together. We need to be kind and a friend at all times.
- Take five minutes to take care of yourself. Depression and anxiety are real and you may seem like you can’t even put one foot in front of the other today. Let me tell you something, you are valuable, you are needed and it will be okay. Maybe not okay in the sense that you think or the direction or path that was in your “Plan A” but you will be okay.
- Give a smile, hello, nod or wave to another human being. Remember it takes more muscles to frown than it does to smile.
- If you feel these families need some extra help, reach out to your local Extension Office and they will help point you in the right direction.
The Ohio State University Extension is full of information to help in the decision process. No, it’s not all rainbows and unicorns — it is real-life decisions. Farmers, as you are reading the articles, remember these few things. Write down your options (the pros and cons). Talk with your local Extension educator or call them out for a farm visit. We, at OSU Extension, are here for you. We care about you even if you have never stepped foot into our office. Our service to you is free.
Additionally, as you read through the articles, think about your options. When it comes to questions on prevent plant acres contact your insurance agent. Don’t just assume they know your plans. The CORN Newsletter contains recommendations based on agronomic principals and potential considerations from an agricultural production perspective. If the management will be applied to crop insured acres, you should check any impact that the management change will have on current or future insurance payments and eligibility.
Please share this information in any way possible — forward the email, tweet the post #FarmLivesMatter, share to your non-farm friends, Snapchat it to your kids, post on Instagram, print it off and drop it at church or even the local grocery store. The agriculture community is powerful and has many opinions, stresses, and directions. Some people have no clue what is going on in and around the agriculture world, so share with them.
Lastly, I am asking the community to check on your farmer neighbors and their families. Drop into the farm to check on the farmer and family. Bring them dinner but don’t just drop it off actually share some time with that family. They may come up with every excuse that the house is not clean or I am too busy. Maybe even drag them to your house for dinner. They may not want you there but they need you there as their support system. Getting a vacation from the farm is probably what many families are eliminating due to financial pressures, but human interaction is one powerful value. While a simple way to check in on farmers is a text message, texts don’t work in these situations. They need your empathy, not your sympathy. Go old school and play the board game, shut down the social media and have a conversation. These things only cost your time. Did you ever think about giving back to those people who help feed the world?