2020 has been a year in the books for most people, but for farmers, it was another year of added stress and challenges. Compile that with the mounting stress of the Holiday season, the NCSPA feels that is important to stop and shed light on the topic of mental health in the agriculture industry.
While we are not experts in this area, the soybean farmer is the core of our mission and we want to make sure that growers have all the resources available. Sadly, many of us have seen firsthand the tragedy that can ensue when farmers do not put their physical and mental health first during challenging times. Because of this, we also want to challenge farmers to take a second and do the unthinkable, something that does not come naturally to them.
PUT THEMSELVES FIRST
Working with farmers across the state every day, we know that your heart is to serve others and to be great stewards of the land. However, it is important to take a few moments to check in on yourself, making sure that you can continue being a support structure for those you love in the future. Farming is such an important part of who you are, and we know you are proud to work the land and provide food for others. Farming is more than an occupation, it’s an identity, which is why individuals in the agriculture sector have been hit so hard by the uncertainty the last few years have brought.
But we want you to remember you are more than a farmer, and even if your circumstances change, you are still an important part of the ag community and your community at large. You are husbands and fathers and uncles and wives and sisters. You are firefighters and advocates and volunteers and school board members. You give so much to your community and there is so much more to you than “just a farmer”. While it is easy to put the focus of your farm and operation first, the best way to safeguard its future is to ensure the wellbeing of yourself. Most importantly, we hope that farmers recognize the importance they hold in our lives, the lives of their families, and in their communities.
To everyone in the agriculture industry, farmer and industry professional alike, we challenge you to be a resource for others in your community. This could be as simple as providing a listening ear, sharing a word of encouragement, or pointing them to the resources below. As we move to 2021, we are excited to see the bonds in the ag community strengthen.
In compiling the below resources, we hope that you know you are not alone in facing the challenges that are brought on by the industry.