Episode Description: With weather, volatile markets and farm policy, everyone acknowledges that there is an issue with farm stress. Yet, it is an issue that people often don't talk about and it can be difficult to ask for help. Doug Kramer, who farms at Bejou, Minnesota, went through the farm crisis of the 1980s, which has many similarities to today. During that time, Doug took the brave step to see a therapist. "The first few times I went, I felt like I didn't want anyone to know or to see me, but after a couple visits, I guess I didn't care if anyone saw me because I knew I needed help." Monica Kramer McConkey is a farm kid, who for the past 25 years has worked in the field of behavior health. Today, Monica works for Prairie St. John's and has a consulting firm called Eyes on the Horizon. In this edition of TransFARMation, Monica joins her Dad in a conversation about farm stress.
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 20, 2019
Episode Description: Farmers have a lot coming at them right now, including low commodity prices, uncertain trade policies and weather delays during the rush of a busy planting season. None of these issues are things that farmers can control. When overwhelmed, it can be easy to stick our head in the sand and not deal with these problems. Ted Matthews, who is the rural health counselor for the State of Minnesota, says it is important to concentrate on what you can control. "Know what you have in front of you and what you have control over and focus on those things. Getting those things done will be a positive thing." Matthews takes calls from farmers every day, helping them maneuver through difficult times. In this edition of TransFARMation, Matthews offers ideas for farmers who are struggling.
Published May 6, 2019
Episode Description: Theresia Gillie of Hallock, Minnesota is a survivor. Faced with financial challenges, her husband, Keith, took his own life just over two years ago. "It isn't something you get over, it's something you live with." Life has changed for Theresia. "The life I knew no longer existed. I don't get to have my old life back." Theresia is feeling stronger. From her own experience, she encourages others to be aware and be ready to help. "Watch out for your neighbors. Look for anything not normal. If they're struggling, help them out." Theresia continues to farm today, sharing equipment with two of her neighbors. You can hear her emotional story in this edition of TransFARMation.
Published April 19, 2019
Episode Description: Episode Description: After a few tough years farming in the 1980s, Randy Koenen found a new career in farm radio. "I do miss farming at some points, but there are a lot of things I don't miss; I don't miss the stress," said Randy. "I was under immense pressure. I couldn't sleep at night, and I wasn't eating. Once I made the decision to step away, a big weight was lifted off my shoulders." For farmers that are struggling, Randy encourages them to consider the many options. "As farmers, we're builders, we're electricians, we're mechanics, we're truck drivers. As farmers, we have a skill set where we can do just about anything." Randy shares his story in this edition of TransFARMation.
Published April 3, 2019
Episode Description: The Red River Farm Network is partnering with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture on a new radio and podcast series called TransFARMation. In the inaugural episode, Little Falls, Minnesota dairy farmer Brenda Rudolph shares her story about transitioning the family business. "Every farm transition is different, but the biggest thing is the struggle of being open and communication on the plan." As a couple, Brenda and her husband, Nathan, have a quarterly business meeting. "We treat it very professional. We need to communicate and so we created a set time for a meeting and it is not just by the bulk tank talking, this is business time." In addition to this podcast, Brenda's thoughts can be found on her blog, Twitter and Facebook.