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Extending Support for Farmers, Ranchers in Times of Stress

Many farmers, agricultural professionals and family members are facing increased stresses linked with uncertain market conditions. The hours they must spend in checking on market prospects, reviewing financial needs, and making farming decisions can be long, stressful and tiring.

The emotional and physical needs of those who are undergoing stress from conditions in agriculture are sometimes forgotten during planning efforts. Individual farmers and ranchers may not consider their own needs or they may feel too occupied with other responsibilities to handle personal or family needs.

Farmers, their family members and other agricultural workers need to take care of themselves to have the emotional and physical resources to deal with stresses. 

Here are a few tips to consider for addressing emotional and physical well-being:

  • Get sufficient sleep.
  • Eat well-balanced meals as much as possible. Avoid junk food or unhealthy snacks.
  • Set up and maintain a structured routine if possible.
  • Learn to say no without feeling guilty during times of demand. Conserve your energy for where it is most needed.  
  • Take time for breaks to rest and renew your energy (5-10 minutes every hour).
  • Get up, stretch, walk, or exercise briefly.   
  • Realize when a situation or problem requires help from others. Be willing to engage some support.
  • Delegate tasks to others or call for additional support if needed.
  • Be aware of your energy limits and stop when these limits have been reached.
  • Communicate with people who understand your tasks and challenges.
  • Practice optimism and humor. Laughter is a great source of stress relief.  

The NDSU Extension Service has resources on its website designed to assist individuals, families and community professionals in managing stresses in agriculture at:

Source: Sean Brotherson, Extension family science specialist, NDSU Extension Service

Phone: (701) 231-6143



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