By Juana Lopez, VT Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets
April 1, 2023 | Montpelier, VT - The spring season can be one of the most beautiful times one can experience in the green mountain state. It can also bring new levels of stress and worry, especially for farmers. This is due to the soil preparation, seeding and planting period being one of the most time sensitive and critical tasks for a farmer to ensure the success of their business. In just a few short weeks, farmers must be able to plan and plant certain crops during the proper planting season window based on the local conditions, including temperatures and weather that permit seeds and plants to be sowed or transplanted into the ground. During this time, the farmer must also ensure that they have sufficient labor, and all their equipment will operate smoothly, often after having sat unused for many months. A farmer can work many long days to prepare for this important planting season in order to ensure a good crop and bountiful harvest.
One can try to avoid dealing with their stress levels during this time period in response to ideal weather conditions or in order to complete a project or timely job that need to get done on the farm.
Some of these examples include but are not limited to:
- Denying there is a problem
- Putting blame on others
- Withdrawing from family, friends, or partners
- Using unhealthy resources (alcohol, binge eating, spending sprees) to cope with stress
What this means is that farmers need to find ways to help alleviate their stress burden. Farm First, a free Vermont-based program tries to tackle these issues by providing farm owners with confidential and personal services that best suit their needs, including, but not limited to, financial or family concerns, illness, depression, or alcoholism. One possible opportunity available is to speak to a farmer who is part of the farmer peer network who may also be participating in the planting season with a similar situation as you. Simply talking to other peers in the same position can make a difference. These peers can help you come up with a plan to take a break between tasks or identify a better way to deal with your stress.
It’s important to ask for help when needed. Contact Farm First if you have any questions or concerns at: (802)-318-5538
Let’s support each other this season! To connect with a farmer peer, please visit: https://farmfirst.org/resources/peer-support
For more information, please visit: https://www.farmfirst.org/