Managing Stress on the Farm
October 6, 2023
Written By Jon Ihler
Farming is one of the most stressful professions with many uncontrollable variables, like this year’s drought. Farmers constantly face situations that pose a risk to their physical, mental, spiritual and financial health.
As a farmer-owned cooperative, MFA Oil knows it’s critical to support the farmers and ranchers in our agricultural community. After all, agriculture remains the backbone of America’s economy, and our nation depends on the men and women who raise our crops and livestock.
It’s often been said, “Take care of the farm, and the farm will take care of you.” But the reality is that farmers can’t count on the farm to take care of them. They need to prioritize self-care. Farmers tending to their own health and wellness is just as critical as caring for the farm or ranch. Additionally, research has shown that when farmers are healthy, their farms may be more productive.
The lack of mental health support in rural areas is an ongoing challenge. It has been difficult to address for cultural and financial reasons, but there is a clear need for better access. The MFA Foundation, which is managed by MFA Incorporated, MFA Oil and local affiliates of both companies, recognizes that need and has committed to providing resources to address this critical concern.
The MFA Foundation has made a four-year commitment to MU Extension’s efforts to support rural communities in need of mental health assistance. The university’s Psychological Services Clinic offers up to five free teletherapy sessions for farmers, ranchers and members of their immediate families. You can learn more about these services at muext.us/PSCFarmRanch, or contact the clinic at [email protected] or 573-882-4677.
The Missouri Department of Agriculture’s AgriStress Helpline also offers free, confidential help to farmers and their families. Producers can call or text 833-897-2474 to speak to a healthcare professional. The helpline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
I mention these resources because I want you to know you’re not alone. During this harvest season, you will likely experience increased stress, and things may not always go as planned. Farm life is never easy, but help is available. If you are in crisis or know someone who is, please take advantage of these resources.
Have a safe and healthy harvest.