COVID-19 adding to stress of farmers

Farmer pointing at field of hay

COVID-19 has added to the stress of farmers who are encouraged to talk about their stress and to reach out and check in on others.

Jeff Dizenberger, a Wisconsin farmer and certified mental health coach, says the number one thing farmers can do to help their mental health and that of others is to talk about how they are feeling…

“We have to have some of these hard conversations because honestly, folks the hard conversations in life are much better than the hard conversations at a funeral.”

Ditzenberg attempted suicide in the 1990s and has since found his way back through helping others.

John Shutske, a University of Wisconsin Ag Safety and Health Specialist says COVID has made being there for one another harder but not impossible…

“Being there physically right now is really difficult. So I do think it’s an extra challenge. I think the more personalized you can get it, whether it’s FaceTime or Zoom, that certainly is better than the telephone and telephone is better than just email.”

Ditzenberger says farmers are proud men and women but they need to have conversations with each other and their children about the stress they are under which can begin the healing process…

“You know, put a mask on and go to your neighbor’s if they’ll let you come on the farm, for crying out loud! But we have to communicate.”

Ditzenberger and Shutske were guests on a session of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting virtual convention.


Photo by Bec Ritchie on Unsplash