Planting Season Brings New Round of Farm Stress

AMES, Iowa – Low commodity prices and delayed fieldwork due to precipitation have many Iowa farmers feeling the effects of stress.
While some stress is normal, too much can lead to physical, mental and emotional problems, according to Larry Tranel, dairy specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.
In the April edition of the Ag Decision Maker newsletter, Tranel continues the discussion on farm stress, and outlines six key steps that can help farmers across the Midwest identify and respond to stressful events.
In his article called “A ‘PRIMER’ on Farm Stress Resiliency,” Tranel offers farmers the “PRIMER” tool, which stands for perception, reality, identify, manage, extend and resources.
Through this tool, farmers are encouraged to take a closer look at their thoughts, actions, lifestyle and social life.
Tranel said what stresses one farmer may be perceived differently by another. He encourages each farmer to identify the cause of their stress, and separate the facts from emotions so the situation can be managed. His article also encourages farmers to extend themselves to others, and seek resources that will help.
“The goal is to become more intertwined in others’ lives, as stressed people are often helped by family and friends who care,” he said. “When extending to others, we often find new perspectives and mindsets, not to mention better feelings toward stressful situations at hand.”
More information about stress is available via the Iowa Concern Hotline, which offers free, confidential help for Iowans in need. For phone support, call 1-800-447-1985.
The April Ag Decision Maker newsletter also includes the article “Questions frequently asked about prevented planting,” by Steve Johnson, ISU Extension and Outreach farm management specialist.
Prevented planting is becoming a growing concern for Iowans, especially those facing severe flooding in the western part of the state.
Johnson provides answers to common questions, including how much a producer will get paid, what defines prevented planting and important deadlines.
Ag Decision Maker is published each month, and is available in print and online.
 oto credit: Dusan Kostic/

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