Farm Stress & Decision-Making During Challenging Times

Stress is a double-edged sword. A little stress can serve as a constructive motivator, galvanizing us to action. Too much stress, on the other hand, can damage our health compromise safety and sabotage personal relationships. With the arduous and sometimes volatile conditions we see in agriculture, the risk of too much stress is alarming.

a man working

Stressed? Take Stock, Take Care, and Gain Control

Stress is common in farming. The long hours can sometimes lead to fatigue, especially if there is not enough help. A feeling of a lack of control during changing times and conditions can compound the feeling of uncertainty. Other things that can cause stress are issues related to your kids, relationships, markets, the weather and other things you are not able to control.

a toy truck

Throttle Back on Stress

When I was a little boy, I was intrigued by trucks, tractors and machines like any farm kid. I understood what the gas pedal was in my mom’s car and my dad’s pickup. But it took me a while to understand exactly what the throttle did on the steering column of our John Deere 4020 and how it controlled fuel flow.

Understanding stress is similar — and for our health and the well-being of our loved ones and relationships, learning where to find the levers to “throttle down” the chemicals that fuel high levels of stress is crucial.

a woman standing in front of a milking machine

Top 10 Farm Safety Tips

Farming ranks as one of the most dangerous industries in the U.S. Stress, long hours and fatigue contribute to injury risk. When we confront several stressors at once, we may become distracted, and this distraction can cause errors that lead to serious or fatal incidents, such as tractor rollovers or entanglement in a fast-moving machine. Thus, proper safety precautions are essential for preventing such incidents.