Farm owners and workers are more likely to die by suicide than any other occupation. Veterinarians are 2.7x as likely to attempt suicide than the general population. One out of two of us struggle with depression or anxiety. Net income on farms decreased by 40% 2013-2017. Weather disasters hurt thousands of farmers and ranchers in 2018-2020. A global pandemic closed doors, wasted untold tons of products, and emptied store shelves in 2020-21, with 66% of farmers saying the pandemic negatively impacted their mental health.*
Startling statistics, but a very real look at the stress levels impacting all of us in agriculture. These numbers call for compassion for the people raising our food. A reminder to have the difficult conversations. An outcry to break the stigma and put some tools in agriculture’s hands to deal with the chronic stressors that are impacting our families and businesses. Science clearly proves we can’t just “tough it out” so it’s time to change the game plan.
We’re introducing two new projects to help the people of agriculture care for themselves, just as they they do their land and animals. The first was creating a series of daily stress management livestreams during National Ag Week, which you can see here.
The second is Agriculture’s Growth Calendar, making its debut on National Ag Day! This unique piece brings 52 weeks of ideas and inspiration for your office or kitchen. It’s a desktop flip calendar that stands above the piles on your desk, serving as a guide to stress management, personal growth, and building resiliency. Beautiful images from a national contest will make the calendar a salute the peace and people of rural America.
Quick reminders and tips fill Agriculture’s Growth Calendar across four seasons: planning, planting, growing, and harvesting. The back of each week offers short stories from those with lived experience, websites with practical resources, data to support stress management as a business tool, and resources for your family. A weekly challenge gives food for thought about how to implement the tips.
CDC reports that the occupation of Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, and Hunting is the leading occupation for suicide. It’s time to change that. Michele believes helping the people of agriculture manage their own stress will will help start the difficult conversation. Contact her about early orders for the brand new Agriculture’s Growth Calendar if you’re interested in helping spread the word and build resiliency in the best business in the world.
*References include CDC, American Farm Bureau Federation, and Merck Animal Health AVMA study