Let’s talk about dealing with farm stress

Can farm work and farm life really balance? That’s the focus and title of a workshop set for 3–4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 12, during the Ohio Ecological Food and Farming Association (OEFFA) conference.

Led by Taylor Mendell of Vermont’s Footprint Farm and Kelly Cabral, a CFAES graduate student and a prevention coordinator with Ohio State’s Ohio Youth Resilience Collaborative, the online workshop will feature a discussion of “managing stresses big and small.”

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Although your cows may be ‘tired of hearing about it,’ there are people who can help you who aren’t

In summer 2019, CFAES formed a task force to help Ohio farmers and their families deal with the state’s ongoing farming crisis, a crisis caused by record spring rains, new international tariffs, and low commodity prices.

The new Rural and Farm Stress Task Force helped bring mental health issues—and helpful mental health services—into the light, as did the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Ohio’s Got Your Back campaign, which launched the same summer with CFAES as one of its partners.

On Thursday, Feb. 11, from 1–2 p.m., as part of the 42nd annual conference of the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association, CFAES graduate student Kelly Cabral will continue to explore the timely topic in a workshop called “When Your Cows Are Tired of Hearing About It: Addressing Farmer Mental Health.”

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Growing ‘a sense of belonging’

Eighteen central Ohio veterans spent summer farming at CFAES’ Waterman Agricultural and Natural Resources Laboratory in Columbus. As participants in a pilot project called the Veteran Farming Program—organized by the Central Ohio VA Healthcare System and CFAES’ OSU Extension outreach arm—the veterans gained practice in farming and gardening while benefiting from the activities’ therapeutic aspects. They graduated from the program earlier this month.

“I used to farm when I was younger,” said Vietnam veteran Bob Udeck, 74. “It feels really good to get your hands dirty again—planting something, nurturing it, and watching it produce.”

Read the full story on our CFAES Stories site. (Photo: Mike Hogan, OSU Extension.)