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Schmidt: Wolford NDAWN active

June 11, 2020
Yolanda Schmidt - County Agent , Pierce County Tribune

Last week work on the Wolford NDAWN station was completed and it is up and collecting data. Until the station is added to the main NDAWN page, current NDAWN data for the Wolford station can be accessed by typing wolford.ndawn.org into your internet browser search bar. The link to check out the temporary site for the additional soil moisture and temperature data is wolfordsoil.ndawn.org. Both pages will take some time for data to populate. At this time, we do not have an estimate as to when this station will be connected to the main NDAWN page and the smartphone App due to some technical difficulties.

Coping with Farm and Ranch Stress

Poor growing and harvesting conditions, low commodity prices, trade wars and a shortage of livestock feed for winter all have been stressful for North Dakota farmers and ranchers. Now, COVID-19 along with market uncertainty adds one more weight to an already heavy load carried by agriculture producers and their families.

A number of agencies including NDSU Extension have developed resources to help farmers and ranchers cope with the stress resulting from the uncertainties in their profession. The first step in coping with stress is to recognize the early symptoms of stress. "Before farm/ranch families can do much about managing stress, they have to know when they are experiencing it," says Sean Brotherson, Extension family science specialist. "Much of the time, people do not know or give attention to what is going on in their bodies and in their relationships with others."

Those early signs include rising blood pressure, a rapidly beating heart, clenched teeth, aching neck and shoulders, sweating hands and feet, and churning stomach.

"Early warning signs are like a flashing red light on the dashboard of your car when the engine is overheating," Brotherson says. "If you ignore it long enough, the engine will get damaged." These warning signals can occur in the physical, emotional, behavioral and relationship dimensions of a person's life.

To help farmers and ranchers recognize the warning signs and do something about them, Brotherson has developed fact sheets with tips on how to control events that cause stress, control their attitudes about those events and control their responses.

Coming from a farm and ranch family myself, I know that farmers and ranchers are some of the toughest people I know, but people must understand it is OK not to be OK sometimes and it is OK to ask for help. Help is available. We just have to ask. The worst option when dealing with farm stress is silence or trying to "tough it out".

Throughout the state, Extension agents are available to listen to stressed farmers and ranchers and direct them to get the help they need.

Farm and Ranch Stress resources for farmers and ranchers to recognize and manage their stress can be found on the NDSU Extension Farm and Ranch Stress website at: www.ag.ndsu.edu/farmranchstress .

Another great resource for dealing with farm and ranch stress is a podcast series called TransFARMation, which was developed by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and the Red River Farm Network. According to their website, "The series is designed to increase awareness and reduce inhibitions about acknowledging farm stress, as well as highlight the resources available. Local farmers, ranchers and agricultural stakeholders are featured, sharing personal stories and offering a message of hope."

Some key episode stories shared by real farmers and ranchers are:

- How Not to Let the Farm Wreck your Marriage

- Life After Farming

- It's OK to not be OK seeing a therapist

- Suicide: Losing a Husband and Partner; Losing a Son

- After a Farm Accident, Attitude is Everything

- What Farm Stress Does to Kids

The TransFARMation podcast is available to download and listen on iTunes, Spotify and on your favorite podcast app in the Google Play store or you can visit their website here: www.rrfn.com/transfarmation/ . In closing, if you or someone you know is struggling with farm or ranch stress I sincerely hope you will consider checking these resources out because you are important to your family and our community.

During this time of COVID-19 social distancing, if you have questions on this or any other topic please call 701-776-6234 ext. 5. Plant pictures can be emailed to yolanda.schmidt@ndsu.edu.

 
 

 

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