This annual event cultivates understanding and evaluating the vital intersection of agriculture and mental health.Read More
Farmers provide. We are shepherds, committed to treating our families and the earth right.
Are we doing the same for ourselves?
We’re focused on so many things, and rightfully so, but most likely none of them can grow without us being healthy.
It’s time farmers, our families and our communities ask a tough question.
Are we OK?
It’s easy to brush off stress. It’s easy to push it down and instead focus on what’s in your field, or in your barn, or under your roof. It’s easy to think that not being mentally tough is weak.
It’s not. In fact, it’s the opposite.
It takes someone strong to realize help is out there. It’s confidential and it’s free.
The Ohio Department of Agriculture has joined the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, The Ohio State University and other state agencies and organizations to create a new, first-of-its-kind anonymous survey to address mental health on our farms, within our families and in our communities.
This survey will help the experts offer the most helpful resources to you, to make sure you continue to thrive in agriculture. By scanning the QR code with your phone, or clicking this link, you can take the survey. Again, you will stay anonymous.
Please know the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, a free, confidential resource, is always available to anyone going through struggles and at any stage. It’s OK to reach out by calling, texting, or chatting, after a tough day, week, or month.
The most recent information from the Ohio Department of Health shows that in 2021, 1,766 died by suicide.
In that year:
- Suicide was the second-leading cause of death in Ohio for people 10-34 years old.
- Adults 25-44 had the highest rate of suicide in our state.
- For men, ages 75 and up had the highest rate of suicide.
- For women, it was ages 45-54.
Stress affects everyone.
It’s hard to talk about ourselves, even for me.
I’ve dealt with farm stress throughout my entire life. Running a seventh-generation family farm comes with its share of worries. And the pressure to carry on the family legacy has kept me up on many occasions wondering if this is how my ancestors would have handled a big decision with our farm, like increased costs of doing business each year and how I will make the mortgage.
The what ifs seem to stay with us longer than anything.
I’ve lost friends and acquaintances to mental health struggles. I still question if I should have seen the signs.
I think I can call a spade and spade and say I could have done more. I could have checked in. I could have kept going after the jokes and light conversation.
Our burdens carry a lot of weight. By opening up, you are lightening your load and able to take on more. Farmers are selfless. By doing this, you are absolutely not putting that load on someone else. You are not imposing. You are not weak.
By talking about it, we can erase the stigma that comes with mental health.
I am more than a farmer and the director of our great state’s Department of Agriculture. I am a father and a grandfather. I want them to know that, just like my farm, I am here to help them grow. I am here to make sure their lives are better than my own. To me, that involves a little discipline and a lot of love, including teaching them to love themselves.
As a farmer, you have a lot on your plate. It’s your hard work that puts food on the table for all Ohioans. One of the best things about being part of the farming community is that it’s tight-knit. From all corners of the state, we can understand what one another is going through.
So, when you want to talk, we are here.
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.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.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.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.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.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.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.Washington, D.C. Leadership Experience
By talking about it, we can erase the stigma that comes with mental health.Read More
This first-of-its-kind group focuses on offering more resources to agricultural communities. The group’s first action is introducing a new, anonymous survey to seek feedback directly from rural communities.Read More
This joint initiative aimed to equip attendees with the tools and understanding required to address mental health concerns within the community.Read More
The Yvonne Lesicko Perseverance Prize recognizes groups or individuals working to find innovative solutions to farmer mental health difficulties. Nominations are due July 31, 2023.Read More
Mental health advocate Brandon Fullenkamp from Highland County was a guest on the Farmside Chat podcast with American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall.Read More
A short play was designed to encourage attendees to discuss stress, the impacts of stress, and the resources available locally to deal with stress.Read More
The morning kicked off with an opportunity to speak with those gathered, network with multiple businesses and area agencies, and reconnect with old friends.Read More