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Mental health taking driver's seat during harvest time

Even more important than what you see happening inside their tractor cab or in their fields during this time of year is what is going on inside the minds of area farmers. According to a 2021 Wisconsin Watch report, the suicide rate among male farmers is 43.2 per 100,000, much higher than the national rate of 27.4 per 100,000. The pandemic has only added to the stress farmers face, which includes crop prices, the weather, and their lengthy lists of daily tasks. Extension UW-Madison Regional Dairy Educator Aerica Bjurstrom says the combination of rural living and personal pride among farmers has led many to struggle with mental health, especially during the harvest season.

Bjurstrom urges residents to check in with their neighbors to see how they are doing. This week is National Farm Safety and Health Week, a time where there is an extra emphasis for farmers to be physically and mentally safe. The AgriSafe Network is putting on online seminars all week related to farm safety, two of which address mental health. Extension UW-Madison also has its own resources related to mental health and farmers.

 

Picture and additional content thanks to U.S. Ag Centers

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