As the COVID-19 crisis continues to greatly impact daily life, there is an even greater need to take care of not only physical but mental health. Agriculture is an essential business, but the extra stress of the pandemic and the coming planting season can weigh heavily on Ohio farmers.

“There is an increased sense of anxiety or concern for farmers and livestock producers currently due to both the COVID-19 crisis as well as a looming wet spring,” said Ohio Farm Bureau Southeast Regional Trustee Jenny Cox. “There are several concerning factors for farmers right now.”

Cox noted that some of those concerns include getting crops in the ground, the larger supply chain being backed up or shut down for livestock producers, generating enough cash flow to keep operations going, falling commodity prices and concerns about personal health as well as the well-being of employees and monitoring that they are following appropriate protocols.

All these concerns can pile up, making it imperative for farmers to care for their own mental health and check in on other producers, according to OFBF State Board Trustee Nathan Brown.

“In order to keep my sanity, I have reached out to many friends across the state and even the country. In every conversation, we each have discussed our own mental health and how we are feeling ­­— yes, feeling,” he said. “I know that at least once a day I will get a call from someone checking on me and I appreciate that, and often we both end up sharing the feelings of that day and that is OK.”

Cox said farmers are going to do everything they can to produce a crop or raise livestock to feed the world regardless of weather conditions or a pandemic such as COVID-19.

“That is just what we do,” Cox said.

Brown stressed that farmers should reach out, check on people, really ask how they are doing and be sincere.

“If you are struggling, know it’s OK to reach out to friends or even have a telemedicine chat with a mental health professional,” he said. 

Cox agrees and said she believes farmers and residents in rural communities are increasingly finding mental health resources helpful.

“Farmers are humble by nature, and asking for help is uncommon in any aspect of their lives,” she said. “However, I believe that asking for mental health help has become a bit easier due to the increased awareness of opportunities to ask for help in a private manner, as well as increased awareness of mental health programs and treatment options that are available in rural areas.”

Taking advantage of mental health resources can help farmers do what they do best. 

Following are links to mental health resources specifically for farmers dealing with anxiety related to their livelihoods and COVID-19:

  • American Farm Bureau’s is a hub of agriculture-specific information for farmers.
  • AFBF’s provides warning signs of stress, steps to take to combat stress and training to manage stress.
  • – OSU College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences has updated its ag crisis website with a COVID-19 tab specifically for Ohio farmers and has a substantial amount of information related to farm stress.
  • is the Ohio Department of Agriculture website on farm stress.
  • is where to find up-to-date information about the novel coronavirus itself.
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.
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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.
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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.
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Matt Aultman

Darke County Farm Bureau

Leadership development
Farm Bureau involvement has taught me how to grow my professional and leadership experience outside of the workforce and how to do that in a community-centric way.
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Jaclyn De Candio

Clark County Farm Bureau

Young Ag Professionals program
With not growing up on a farm, I’d say I was a late bloomer to agriculture. I feel so fortunate that I found the agriculture industry. There are so many opportunities for growth.
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Jenna Gregorich

Coshocton County Farm Bureau

Growing our Generation
Knowing that horticulture is under the agriculture umbrella and having Farm Bureau supporting horticulture like it does the rest of ag is very important.
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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.
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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.
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Mary Smallsreed

Trumbull County Farm Bureau

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