The University of Maryland Extension (UME) announces the release of a new web page devoted to assisting farm families in dealing with stress management through difficult economic times. “Farm Stress Management,” released in conjunction with National Suicide Prevention week Sept. 9-15, is a set interdisciplinary resources to help farmers navigate the numerous publications online and provide timely, science-based education and information to support prosperous farms and healthy farm families. Farm families are feeling the stress of an inconsistent and unreliable economy; declining incomes, several years of low commodity prices, and increasing costs have all led to worsening debt issues. Farmers have been forced to parcel off their land, file for bankruptcy, and take secondary jobs off the farm to provide supplemental income.
Access to affordable and effective health insurance and care is one of the top concerns among farmers who are often self-employed. Providing health insurance, disability coverage, and planning for retirement and long-term future care have also proven problematic. In fact, in a USDA-funded study, 45 percent of farmers were concerned that they would have to sell some or all of their farm to address health-related costs.
The new web pages offer resources to manage farm stress through a variety of subject areas including financial management, legal aid, mediation, stress and health management, and crisis resources for families dealing with depression substance abuse, mental health concerns. Farms have a special role in American society and are critical to our national and local economies. With world populations expected to increase to a predicted 9 billion by 2050, farmers become even more crucial for feeding our communities. Healthy farms and healthy farm families promote rural community growth, environmental stewardship and cultural legacies.
The new UME online resources can be found at https://extension.umd.edu/FarmStressManagement. For more information, please contact Laura Wormuth, UME Communications Coordinator, at 301-405-6869 or firstname.lastname@example.org.