54% percent of Iowa dairy farmers surveyed reported their mental health concerns have become much more of a concern compared to 5 years ago, prompting educational programming in farm mental health.
In response, this project aimed to
reduce risk by helping producers 1) set goals and make better decisions;
2) increase their farm mental health and resiliency towards farm
stress; 3) increase their understanding of the grief process; 4)
increase communication skills for better marital and family
relationships; 5) design impact analysis of options to better their
farm/family operation and 6) develop and implement written plans to
reduce financial risk and increase relationship quality.
Thirty farm couples were assisted individually through farm couple getaways; 1,038 producers and/or family
members, agri-business personnel; and multi-state Extension
personnel participated in farm stress workshops or related
activities. CO-VID prompted most sessions to be virtual.
Project participants showed a very significant increase in knowledge in a sample of measured outcomes: 1) How we think about
stress (+1.77/84.62%; 2) Using higher reasoning mindset
tactics to mitigate stress (+1.54/61.53%); 3) The difference of good stress and
distress (+1.46/53.85%); and 4) Tools in the Farmer's Mental Health
Average Increases (+1.50/67.24%)