Find Your Joy by Haley Zynda (Originally from Dairy Excel)

Find Your Joy

By Haley Zynda

Dairy Excel – Submitted 4/28/2022


During the week that I wrote this, I was able to create and give a presentation to a local Rotary Club on preparing landscape beds and selecting flowers for the garden. Not even close to being a dairy topic, but it gave me joy. From the content shared to the photos used to the people listening, I had so much fun with this program. In the state of agriculture today, with input prices skyrocketing and uncertainty for the future, it can be incredibly hard to find the joy in what we do. However, finding the joy and clinging to that joy is what will bring you through hard times.

In fact, finding the joy has some health benefits, too (UC Berkeley). As if we don’t need another thing to worry about with a wet and cold spring and the price of soybean meal, our health and wellness need to come first. Without a farmer, there is no farm.

One way that happiness can physically affect our well-being is through heart health. Happy people tend to have lower heart rates and blood pressure. Additionally, happy people may have better immune systems. Studies have shown that when individuals are exposed to the cold virus, those that reported happy emotions leading up to exposure were more likely to stay healthy and those with negative emotions were more likely to become sick. People that experience more happiness also tend to have a lower cortisol (stress hormone) level. This can also play into the immune system. Not only are happy people experiencing less stress, but lower cortisol levels do not strain the immune system like elevated levels do.

Other studies have shown that happiness can help injuries recover more quickly, or at least mitigate some of the pain in the process.

Positive emotions have been able to lessen the pain of chronic pain, such as arthritis, according to clinical studies (Zautra et al., 2008). The risk of stroke has also been assessed in regard to happiness. Elderly people reporting positive emotions were less likely to have a stroke, especially men, compared to those reporting negative emotions.

Last, but certainly not least, happiness can prolong our lifespan. A famous study showed that the happiest people outlived the unhappiest by an average of 7 to 10 years (Danner et al., 2001). Think, almost a decade more to enjoy life, grandkids, and the world surrounding us.

There are a variety of places on and off the farm to find joy to keep us going. If you are religious, perhaps it’s the opening hymn on Sunday mornings. Perhaps it’s the bawl of a newborn calf. To give some inspiration, I’ll share my farming joys:

New bedding in the barn | The smell of freshly turned earth | The newborn call of a lamb | Hanging up the Carhartt for the season | The smell of mowed grass | The feeling of a spring breeze | Putting away the planter | The smell of good hay | Watching a new litter of pigs snuggle up to mom | Feeding mealworms to my hens | Letting the sheep on pasture for the first time | Watching “lamb-pedes” | The first pass with the combine | The last pass with the combine | Enjoying a meal made with homegrown veggies | Placing the last square bale | Examining the data on the year’s lamb crop | Bedding down the barn on Christmas Eve | Collecting eggs | The first lamb of the year | The last lamb of the year | Harvesting our own animals to feed the family | The sound of animals eating | The quiet of a winter night | The sound of spring peepers in the pond | The colors of a spectacular sunrise | The first frost | Late night lamb checks | The people I share the farm with

You can take them as inspiration or find your own. If you are lucky enough to have a spouse or significant other that shares your same passion for farming, it is even more exciting to share in these joys with one another and to be someone to lean on if your partner can’t find their joy that day.  Find your joy, cling to it, and you will get through the hard times.

When the Rain Won’t Let Up

By:  Bridget Britton, Behavioral Field Specialist, OSU Extension

Each morning when waking up recently it feels as though we look out the window and it is either raining or has rained overnight. Farmers are natural meteorologists and are in tune with what is going on with the weather at any given hour of the day.

According to Aaron Wilson, Ohio State University Extension climatologist, there has been measurable rainfall on all but 3 days so far in the month of April. Wet weather and planting delays are sources of additional stress. Though we can’t know for sure when the fields will dry up enough to plant, there are things you can do to keep some of the stress from overwhelming you.

  • Get moving: This is normally when the physical activity starts ramping up. You might not be out busy in the fields yet but start prepping your body and mind now by doing whatever exercise you enjoy to get in the right mindset. This “exercise” might include working on equipment, cleaning your shop, or catching up on things you’ve been putting off.
  • Make time for laughs: Have you ever heard laughter is the best medicine? Well, it might not be the best, but it can help. Make sure you find time to spend with your funny family member or employee. You know who they are. Continue reading

Champion Series: Meet Nathan Brown, Ohio Farmer (Originally from North Central Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Center)

See Original Article Here

Nathan Brown is a first-generation farmer in Highland County, Ohio, where he raises corn, soybeans, wheat, hay, and sheep and has a cow-calf operation. He got involved in agriculture around age 12 by working for a neighbor. Through the efforts of several neighbors, he started his own farm in 2002.”We have been able to grow the operation from its small start to an operation that is sustainable and supports our family and allows us to support our community.”He has been involved with many organizations in the agricultural sector over the years and currently serves on the Ohio Farm Bureau Board and the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation Board. He also serves as a township trustee for Union Township in Highland County.

“As a person who is always striving to better his community, mental health and mental health in agriculture have become areas that need more attention. Agriculture has some of the greatest and most caring individuals I have ever met involved in it and to me is one of the most rewarding careers that a person could have.”

Nathan remembers noticing the demeanor in agriculture changing in the past five to eight years.

“Guys were starting to struggle again after the big runup in commodity prices in the early 2010s. It was alarming to me to hear that in agriculture, even with its great people and great way of life, people were harming themselves and being successful at suicide at an alarming rate. As the conversations started to focus on mental health more, the need to push those conversations and break the stigma became even more obvious. Our friends and neighbor are hurting and the stigma around mental health is holding us all back from getting the help we desperately need.” Continue reading

Can Talking About Death be the best Valentine’s Day Gift? (Originally Published in Farm & Dairy)

Author:         David L. Marrison, Coshocton County Ag & NR Extension Educator

Hello, Northeast Ohio! On Monday, we celebrated Valentine’s Day. So, what did you give your loved one on this special day? Was it roses, chocolate, or maybe an edible fruit bouquet? Your display of affection may have also included a sentimental card, a bottle of Ohio wine, or candles. Each is an excellent way to express love.

In addition to the aforementioned love overtures, our Ohio State University Extension farm succession team encouraged attendees in our four-week “Planning for the Future of Your Farm” webinar series to add a different twist to this year’s Valentine’s Day celebration.

What was this twist? Our twist was for farm couples to enjoy a romantic dinner complete with all their favorites foods and then to sit in the glow of candlelight and talk about a very important subject; this being their individual mortality. Continue reading

Do You Get the Winter Blues?

By Bridget Britton Behavioral Health Field Specialist

Those that work in the agriculture industry know that it doesn’t matter the time of year, it is always busy. The Winter season is no different it just has its own unique demands. However, there may be other things going on in our bodies right now. During this time of year, many people often begin expressing a feeling of sadness or mild depression. Did you know that feeling sad during this time of year is very typical, and many people suffer from Seasonal Affect Disorder?

What is Seasonal Affect Disorder (SAD)?

  • A type of depression that typically lasts 4-5 months a year during the winter months
  • There are many different types of potential signs just to list a few:
    • Feeling sad, lonely, depressed for more than 2 weeks
    • Tired, sluggish, upset
    • Loss of appetite, having low energy, or thoughts of suicide.

Continue reading

Congratulations Jami Dellifield, ‘Y Prize’ Recipient!

Jami Dellifield, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator with OSU Extension in Hardin County, was honored and awarded at the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation Annual Banquet with the first ever Yvonne Lesicko Perseverance Prize, or Y Prize for short, for her innovative work on farmer mental health initiatives that brought together so many for the “Got Your Back” campaign.

“As the 2021 Y Prize award winner, Dellifield will be given a platform to share her work and the efforts of Ohio State University Extension for farm stress and mental health. Dellifield will be a presenter at the 2022 Young Ag Professionals Winter Leadership Experience. All of this is part of the award’s goal of lessening the stigma surrounding mental health issues.” Ohio Farm Bureau

See her interview here: