Episode Description: Lake Benton, Minnesota farmer Bob Worth was a 'young gun' when he began farming 50 years ago until the farm crisis of the 1980s hit, taking its toll. As a result, he went in to a severe case of depression. "It was so bad I didn't even care if I got out of bed. Even if harvest was there, I didn't care; it (the crop) could stay there." Bob's wife convinced him to go see a doctor. "I'm glad she did. The doctor put be on some medicine and diagnosed me with severe depression." As a past president of the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association, Bob has been vocal about his experience with depression. There are some similarities between the 1980s and the tough farm economy of today. "Six or seven years ago, we were flying as high as agriculture has ever flew. We were making good money and never though it could end. Well, guess what, it does end and that's a lot of the shock." Worth sees some of his fellows farmers struggling today and tries to get them to open up. He leaves listeners with this piece of advice. "Communication is so important, especially during times of stress." Hear more in the latest TransFARMation podcast found above.
Even during the best of times, farming is a stressful business. TransFARMation highlights the need for conversation and openness around farm stress and mental health. Listen to the series below. It is also available for download on iTunes, Spotify and on your favorite podcast app in the Google Play store.
Published May 4, 2020
Episode Description: Animal agriculture is dealing with an unprecedented situation with processing plant slowdowns and closures. During this difficult time, Minnesota Pork Board President JoDee Haala, who also serves as director of public affairs at Christensen Farms, says it's important to communicate with your peers. "Rely on the network of people you have who are also going through the same thing you are. It is uncomfortable to talk about if you are struggling financially on the farm, but there are a lot of friendly people out there in agriculture that just want to help." Haala goes on to say that's what makes agriculture so great; open ears and support for one another. With hogs backing up in the system, those farmers are making the difficult decision to euthanize animals. "It is absolutely a time of grieving. When you get up and think about everything you do, you make food for human consumption that is being turned to waste when people are hungry. That's heavy." Hear more from JoDee in the latest TransFARMation podcast episode here.
Published April 20, 2020
Episode Description: The coronavirus outbreak has impacted everyone. When it comes to farmers and ranchers, University of Minnesota Rural Stress Task Force Director Emily Krekelberg says COVID-19 has been devastating for the markets. "That is stressing an already stressed population," Krekelberg explains. That stress is being compounded by uncertainty. "I don't think anyone is immune to that (stress). We all are feeling the pressure from it in some way, shape or form." Coping strategies are critical. That's why it's important to connect with family and friends, especially during this time of social distancing. There are three aspects to wellness: physical, mental and emotional. "A lot of things we can do to take care of ourselves really touches on two or all three of those aspects. I remind people all the time that self care is not selfish. It's little things done everyday to make sure we are well." Hear more from Emily in the latest TransFARMation podcast episode.
Published March 30, 2020
Episode Description: Thomas Duden, who farms in east central Minnesota, has been fighting a battle with depression over the past two years. Thomas says accepting the fact you have depression is hard; asking for help is even harder. It has taken a while for him to open up, but Duden's biggest piece of advice is to just keep talking. "It's not easy. If you can find someone that is easy to talk to and can trust, talk to them because I shut completely down." Thomas's wife Kristin adds there is no shame in asking for help from a professional. "Know that you're not alone and that there are so many more people also struggling," she says. "I definitely give kudos to anyone that goes out and gets help. That has really been a silver lining for Thomas." Hear more from the Dudens in this TransFARMation podcast episode.
Published March 2, 2020
Episode Description: Farmers are generally proud, independent and private people. American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall says we need to move beyond that. “We have to seize the potential in being able to heal ourselves by talking to someone,” said Duvall. “Whether it is a professional, a pastor or a friend, we need to find some way to let that out.” Zippy’s wife, Bonnie, passed away January 18, 2020 after a nine-year battle with cancer. “The first two weeks after that, I was holding it all inside and I was about to bust. All of a sudden, I started talking about it and it became easier.” Duvall shares his personal and emotional story in this TransFARMation episode and the importance of faith. You’ll also learn about AFBF initiatives dealing with farm stress and mental health.
Published February 17, 2020
Episode Description: There are still crops in the field and finances are tight. "These issues can be overwhelming," says Minnesota's newest rural mental health specialist Monica McConkey. "A lot of farmers are in chronic stress situations, having been very stressed for several years." McConkey goes on to say that causes them to go into an avoidance phase. "If farmers aren't understanding the programs available to help them, they just decide not to try or let a person they're working with handle it." Again, the current economic times can be overwhelming. Hear more about how to better navigate the programs available in the latest episode of TransFARMation.
Published February 3, 2020
Episode Description: Bob "Mr. Attitude" Prentice roots in agriculture, coming from the Wessington, South Dakota area. So, how important is attitude in agriculture? "Attitude is everything, or at least I believe it is," says Bob. "It's not always about having a positive attitude, but more of a proper mental attitude. It's about being able to find a creative and innovative way to take on the challenges in life." Hear more in the latest edition of the TransFARMation podcast. [audio mp3="https://www.rrfn.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/020320-TransFARMation-Prentice.mp3"][/audio]
Published January 20, 2020
Episode Description: Binford, North Dakota farmer and rancher Tanner Overby's life changed nearly one year ago on January 30, 2019 when both of his hands got caught in a feed mixer wagon. There were extensive injuries to his hands and arm and he went through 12 surgeries in 30 days. Here's Tanner's advice for others going through a similar, traumatic situation. "Let people help you. I know it's hard to keep your head up with something like that, but moping and feeling sorry for yourself is going to make everyone around you miserable. Just try and take the high road; look at the positive." There was family, the community and people that Tanner had never met before giving him words of encouragement. "It was unreal; everyone was willing to help," says Overby. "There are a lot of good people out there. I was lucky to be from this small community when it happened." Tanner is engaged to Red River Farm Network farm broadcaster Megan Ternquist. Hear more from the couple in this episode of TransFARMation.
Published January 6, 2020
Episode Description: On November 6, 2012, Jack and Mardee Reich and their son, Vander, were returning home from Mayo Clinic where Vander was being treated for a brain tumor. They made it a short way when the family was involved in a tragic automobile accident. Jack and Vander died in that collision and Mardee was seriously injured. Jack was a well-known Angus breeder and a leader in the North Dakota Stockmen's Association and National Cattlemen's Beef Association. In this episode of TransFARMation, Mardee shares this very personal story. Mardee continues to operate the Zap, North Dakota ranch. "I knew I didn't want to make another life-changing decision at that moment; I had enough change." People often say grief goes away with time. "I don't think that's true," said Mardee. "When time passes, you learn to tolerate it. The grief process is the hardest thing a person would ever have to do, trying to move forward after sustaining a loss." For others dealing with loss, Mardee said they shouldn't ever be afraid to ask for help.
Published January 2, 2020