Got Your Back Campaign

With the kickoff of the #gotyourback campaign, the Ohio Department of Agriculture is moving the topic of mental health on the farm forward. The initiative, of which Ohio Farm Bureau is a proud partner, was created to let farmers know they are not alone in their struggles and to give them resources to seek professional, confidential help when stresses on the farm become overwhelming.

Dorothy Pelanda
ODA Director Dorothy Pelanda

“So many factors in farming are out of the farmer’s control,” said Dorothy Pelanda, ODA director.

“Wondering if the weather will cooperate and working long hours alone can all affect a farmer’s mental health and well-being.”

Earlier this year, Director Pelanda visited with farmers across the state who were faced with the most devastating economic losses they have ever experienced due to the excessive wet weather during the planting season.

“Many of them told me they felt as if they had the weight of the world on their shoulders,” Pelanda said. “Imagine working for an entire year and not being paid. That is exactly what some farmers will face this year.”

At a news conference to introduce the #gotyourback campaign and the website GotYourBackOhio.org, Pelanda wanted farmers to know that they are not alone and that help is available to those dealing with the stresses of farming.

Highland County farmer Nathan Brown, who represents District 20 as an Ohio Farm Bureau trustee, was also a part of the news conference. He shared that even before he began his farming career, mental health and mental wellness had been a part of his life. Many members of his family struggled with depression and he has dealt with anxiety.

“For all of us, it can be a challenge to navigate life from time to time and agriculture can magnify those moments,” Brown said. “Farmers sometimes feel that they only have themselves to blame if things don’t go right. It is completely on them if their crops fail or if their farm goes bankrupt and they will very rarely talk with others about what might be going wrong on the farm.”

Brown looks forward to working with the Ohio Department of Agriculture to bring this statewide initiative to the local level as well. He believes having mental health professionals on the ready in farm communities will be crucial in helping people in rural Ohio that find themselves in a crisis situation.

Online extras

Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences has convened a task force to address concerns and offer the best science-based recommendations for and solutions to the issues growers are facing regarding weather impacts, tariffs, and low commodity prices. Farmers and their families can find information about all aspects of this challenging year in farming in several online resources Ohio State University has compiled.

Listen to Nathan Brown discuss farmer mental health in this episode of Field Day with Jordan Howeischer.

Labor has always been an issue, mainly because we are a seasonal operation. So that's a challenge finding somebody who only wants to work three months out of a year, sometimes up to six months.
Mandy Way's avatar
Mandy Way

Way Farms

Farm Labor Resources
I appreciate the benefit of having a strong voice in my corner. The extras that are included in membership are wonderful, but I'm a member because of the positive impact to my local and state agricultural communities.
Ernie Welch's avatar
Ernie Welch

Van Wert County Farm Bureau

Strong communities
I see the value and need to be engaged in the community I live in, to be a part of the decision-making process and to volunteer with organizations that help make our community better.
Matt Aultman's avatar
Matt Aultman

Darke County Farm Bureau

Leadership development
The plan we are on is great. It’s comparable to my previous job's plan, and we are a sole proprietor.
Kevin Holy's avatar
Kevin Holy

Geauga County Farm Bureau

Ohio Farm Bureau Health Benefits Plan
We work terrifically with the Ashtabula County Farm Bureau, hosting at least one to two outreach town hall events every year to educate new farmers and existing farmers on traditional CAUV and woodlands.
David Thomas's avatar
David Thomas

Ashtabula County Auditor

CAUV: Past, present and future
Knowing that horticulture is under the agriculture umbrella and having Farm Bureau supporting horticulture like it does the rest of ag is very important.
Jared Hughes's avatar
Jared Hughes

Groovy Plants Ranch

Groovy Plants Ranch
If it wasn't for Farm Bureau, I personally, along with many others, would not have had the opportunity to meet with our representatives face to face in Washington.
Austin Heil's avatar
Austin Heil

Hardin County Farm Bureau

Washington, D.C. Leadership Experience
So many of the issues that OFBF and its members are advocating for are important to all Ohioans. I look at OFBF as an agricultural watchdog advocating for farmers and rural communities across Ohio.
Mary Smallsreed's avatar
Mary Smallsreed

Trumbull County Farm Bureau

Advocacy
Suggested Tags: