Commissioner Steve Troxler: Sept. 15-21 is National Farm Safety and Health Week

Sept. 15-21 is National Farm Safety and Health Week, and it is a good reminder that stressful times can add to the normal pressures of farming. Reconnecting with family, fellow farmers and friends to talk about farm stresses can be helpful for anyone going through difficult times.

  • Next week is National Farm Safety and Health Week and it is a good reminder that stressful times can add to the normal pressures of farming.
  • We recently talked about being aware of operating equipment safely, but this week also focuses more broadly on farmer health and stresses that can weigh on them.
  • Many farmers have been going through highly stressful times. I have talked to many farmers over the past year and some are not certain if they will be able to continue farming after several years of losses due to hurricanes, low commodity prices and tariffs.
  • I know what it’s like to lose your crop and money and wonder what you are going to do tomorrow.
  • Farming is not like any other job. It doesn’t allow much separation between your work and your private life. You work and live on your land, and it is a deeply personal connection especially if your farm is family land.
  • That connection to the land creates even more pressure.
  • We are fortunate to have some resources in North Carolina to assist farmers experiencing stress.
  • The N.C. Agromedicine Institute is working with farmers on the issue of farm stress, because it is a growing concern in the farming community.
  • The institute has conducted 27 events on farm stress with more than 1,400 participants.  They have 13 more events coming up including 10 mental health first aid workshops for cooperative extension agents.
  • Farm work can be isolating work, especially if you spend long hours on the tractor and then come home to piles of paperwork to do.
  • It is important to remember to make time to connect with family and friends. Go to the store for a biscuit or attend a church barbecue of community fish fry.
  • We can all do a better job of keeping in touch with one another. Check in on your neighbors, especially if you haven’t seen them in a while. Sometimes it helps to talk through a problem whether that’s with a family member, a pastor, an advisor or a friend.