Communicating with farmers under stress

Stress becomes especially palpable when commodity prices are low, and caring for your own health and wellness in this high-stress profession is as important as caring for your bottom line.

March 15, 2018 - Author: Suzanne Pish, Michigan State University Extension

In 2016, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health examined 130 occupations and found laborers and farm owners had the highest rate of deaths due to stress-related conditions like heart and artery disease, hypertension, ulcers and nervous disorder. It is important to know how to manage stress levels and to reduce the effects of unwanted stress. Too much stress can make a person more accident-prone. This is why it is important to identify common stressors, recognize the symptoms of stress and manage stress. By doing these three things, you will make the work place safer.

Stress is a normal emotional response to the demands of life. Everyone experiences it, and the results vary in intensity from being in a foul mood to more complicated illnesses. In fact, it is estimated by Family Development Resources, Inc. That 75 percent to 90 percent of all illnesses are stress related.

Over the last couple years it has been difficult for farm families in Michigan. Many are experiencing financial and emotional stress as a result. There are several signs or symptoms when a farm family may be in need of help. These signs can be observed by friends, extended family members, neighbors, milk haulers, veterinarians, clergy persons, school personnel or health and human service workers.

Michigan State University Extension has helped in the development of a webinar specially designed for people who work with agricultural producers and farm families who want to know more about managing farm-related stress and learn ways to approach and communicate with those in need. The 90 minute webinar will include specialist and educators discussing the present agricultural market situation with an overview of how this has affected a farm’s financial situation and cash flow, communicating with farmers in financial distress and the detrimental impact of stress on our body and state of mind, providing information on how to recognize some of the warning signs of depression, self-harm and mental illness. Information and registration for the March 27, 2018 webinar can be found at the Extension Zoom website.

To find an upcoming workshop in your area or arrange for a workshop to be delivered at your organization or business, contact Suzanne Pish; also visit the Managing Farm Stress website.

Tags: family, food & health, healthy relationships, managing farm stress, managing relationships, msu extension

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