NDSU Extension Helps Farmers and Ranchers Cope With Stress

Steele County producer David Mehus can’t plant crops this year because by the time he arranged financing, the land he rented was rented to someone else.

Plus, he has 90,000 bushels of corn to sell, but the price dropped 80 cents a bushel.

“I guess I know what stress is,” he says.

NDSU Extension has developed a number of resources to help farmers and ranchers like Mehus cope with the stress resulting from the uncertainties in their profession.

The first step is to recognize the early symptoms of stress, according to Sean Brotherson, Extension family science specialist.

“Before farm and ranch families can do much about managing stress, they have to know when they are experiencing it,” he says. “Much of the time, people do not understand or give attention to what is going on in their bodies and in their relationships with others.”

Extension resources with tips for recognizing and dealing with stress include fact sheets, podcasts, videos, publications, a PowerPoint presentation, workshops and a videoconference that was recorded for later viewing. These resources are available on NDSU Extension’s Farm and Ranch Stress website, www.ag.ndsu.edu/farmranchstress.

The development of these resources has been a collaborative effort of Extension personnel from different disciplines, including Brotherson and Kim Bushaw, NDSU Extension family science specialist, and David Ripplinger, Extension bioproducts and bioenergy economics specialist.

Extension agents throughout the state also are available to listen to stressed farmers and ranchers and direct them to get the help they need.

“People must understand it is OK not to be OK, and help is available,” says Craig Askim, the Extension agriculture and natural resources agent in Mercer County.

Mehus agrees that reaching out for help is vital.

“People need to open up about this stuff,” he says. “We sure don’t want to see suicides over this.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Sean Brotherson, 701-231-6143, sean.brotherson@ndsu.edu


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