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Blog | May 19, 2022

Cultivating Resilience: Farmers share stories on the struggles they face and how they are overcoming them

by Matt Glidden

With timing that coincides with Mental Health Awareness Month, a new podcast called Cultivating Resilience has launched. Produced by our partners in the Northeast regional center of the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network (FRSAN), the show features farmers sharing their stories and experts sharing resources. As they put it:

If you’re a farmer, you know the joy of working the land: the cadence of the seasons, the understanding of the natural world, the tangible results of your hard work. But you probably also know how stressful it can be. From family and finance pressures, to isolation and an exhausting job that has no days off. In fact, agricultural workers experience suicide rates 50% higher than the national average, and that number is rising.

On Cultivating Resilience from FRSAN, farm care starts with self-care. We’ll hear from real, independent farmers on the struggles they face every day, and how they are overcoming them. We’ll provide resources to strengthen your mental health and survive uncertain times. And we’re building a community where farmers and ranchers can support each other, because even the hardiest plants need the right conditions to grow.

Together we’ll discuss the specific stresses that farmers face—things like family farm succession, economic burdens, and rural isolation.

The first episode gets right into it, discussing a topic that causes stress both on and off the farm: finances. It features “Valerie Woodhouse, social worker and owner and operator of Honey Field Farms in Norwich Vermont, on her own financial journey and how she addresses stress in her farming clients. You’ll also hear from university educators Maria Pippidis (University of Delaware- Cooperative Extension) and Jesse Ketterman (University of Maryland-Extension) on the essentials building blocks of healthy finances.”

Farm Aid’s participation in FRSAN has allowed us to expand our hotline team, lengthen the hotline’s hours of operation and broaden our outreach to serve a larger audience of farmers. We’re thrilled to work with our partners in FRSAN to find new ways of providing resources to people and families engaged in farming, ranching, and other agriculture-related occupations.

Resources for Farmers in Crisis

Whether you’re a beginning or established farmer you can call our farmer hotline. Our Farmer Services team is here to listen and to help point you towards helpful resources that match your needs. You can fill out our Request for Assistance Form, or if you want to talk to someone directly, give us a call at 1-800-FARM-AID (1-800-327-6243). We answer the hotline Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. eastern time, and 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. pacific time.

If you are considering suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to talk to someone at 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433).

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