For Educators…

Professional Development: Farmer's Don't Play Cards Anymore - Programs to Support Farmers and Mitigate Social Isolation During Stressful Times

“Farmers Don’t Play Cards Anymore” – Programs to Support Farmers and Mitigate Social Isolation During Stressful Times

Join us on Thursday, May 30th from 2:30 – 3:30 pm via Zoom Meeting to learn about programs developed to support farmers and farm families during this time of financial stress.

“Farmers don’t play cards anymore” is something a farmwoman said in response to a question about why she attended an Extension workshop series for women farmers. She continued, saying that in years past, the neighborhood farm families would gather on Saturday nights to play cards. Now there might be only one working farm on a long stretch of road and it is not as easy to connect with others who are experiencing similar situations.  One of the first signs of stress we often see in the farming community is when individuals or families stop attending meetings, religious activities or stop showing up at the gas station or feed mill for the morning coffee klatch.

Research shows people with high levels of social support tend to be more resilient and can cope with stress better than those with lower levels of social support can. UW Madison Division of Extension can facilitate activities and events to bring farmers and farm families together to reduce feelings of isolation.

This UW-Madison Division of Extension Zoom meeting will highlight three programs in Wisconsin developed to bring farmers and farm families together to eat, socialize and support each other during these difficult times.

Farming After Dark, a program in Lafayette County, provided an opportunity for farmers and spouses to de-stress for a few hours off the farm through fellowship, relationship and fun, while promoting the local agriculture industry. Participants sampled local agricultural fare while making new connections and relaxing in a neighborly environment. Lori Wick, Lafayette County’s 4-H Youth Development Educator, will provide information on how this program came about and how she organized it.

Farmers’ Night Out is Dunn County UW Madison Division of Extension’s effort to mitigate social isolation in our farming community. Katie Wantoch, Dunn County’s Agriculture Agent, will share the how-tos of setting up an event for farm families.

Loganville’s St. Peter’s Church Gatherings are organized by church member, Dale Meyer.  This series of meetings began after a Loganville farmer died by suicide in October 2018. The program is held monthly (but taking a break during cropping season) with a noon meal followed by speakers on various topics and resources.

While these are the three programs we are highlighting, we encourage others who have similar programs to join and share maybe one or two different ideas on how to offer these types of social opportunities. We’d also like to hear any ways that you’ve evaluated these types of programs and what types of sponsors or partnerships helped with the efforts.

This meeting will be recorded and shared for those who cannot join us on May 30th.

Join Zoom Meeting:

One tap mobile: +16465588656,,513190127#

Dial by your location:  +1 646 558 8656

Meeting ID: 513 190 127

For more information contact:

Joy Kirkpatrick, UW Center for Dairy Profitability



Educator's Guide to Working with Farms at a Crossroads

Farming at a Crossroads

Due to ongoing economic conditions in agriculture, many farms are facing significant financial challenges, resulting in questions regarding the viability of the businesses.

Based on the Economic Research Service’s latest farm income forecast, farm income has now been in general decline for 4 years. While farm business average net cash farm income is forecast to increase (9.3 percent) in 2019, this is the first increase since 2014, it is also the third lowest average income recorded since the series began in 2010.² The downturn has clearly started to take a toll, financially and mentally for many farms, and farm families.

Farms are experiencing challenges in their ability to successfully transfer the business to the next generation, and others will need to consider an exit strategy, and off-farm employment.

The Educator’s Guide

This draft document provides a basic outline for an educator responding to a question or discussion of farm businesses viability.  Working through the steps below will help guide your response to farm client questions.

These steps support those working with farm clientele:

²USDA Economic Research Service:


2019 Farm Management Professional Development & Team Business Meeting

Farm & Risk Management Professional Development and Team Business meeting

May 13 & 14, 2019

UW-Extension Farm and Risk Management invites colleagues to attend a professional development meeting on farm management topics and Farm & Risk Management Team business meeting.  The meetings will be held at the Marshfield Agriculture Research Station South Campus, 2611 Yellowstone Drive, Marshfield, WI

Program overview

Monday May 13th  – Farm & Risk Management Professional Development   (10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.)

Professional development topics include farm financial management, farm succession, Dairy 2.0 update, best practices for field and farm visits, and farm management programming and common inquiries. Link to detailed agenda:Professional Development Agenda 5.13.19-UPDATED

Tuesday May 14th Farm Team business meeting (8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.)

Agenda topics include: discussion of Farm Management Program issues & focus for plan of work, budget, farm technology day presence and ANR wisline/zoom professional development topics. Link to detailed agenda: Farm Team meeting agenda 5.14.19


Registration is appreciated for the lunch count by May 8th.  Registration is necessary for mileage reimbursement.   Please use the link to register: UWEX Farm Management program registration


Who should attend –  Colleagues who have identified a primary emphasis with the Farm Management Program are expected to attend (both days), colleagues with a secondary emphasis with the Farm Management Program are encouraged to attend, and colleagues with an interest in Farm Management are welcome to attend.

Meals & Travel – Lunch and morning refreshments provided for both days, dinner is on your own.  Mileage reimbursement for agents/educators without county support to attend the meetings will be considered.

Lodging – Lodging expenses at the following facility will be covered by the Farm Team for those attending both meeting days (May 13th & 14th).  A block of rooms has been reserved at the Holiday Inn, 750 S Central Ave, Marshfield, WI 54449 for Monday May 13th. You can make your reservation via the following link:

Extension Farm Mgmt Program Block Holiday Inn Hotel & Conference Center Marshfield

Or if you prefer to make reservations over the phone, call 715-486-1500 and reference The Extension Farm Mgmt Program Block, or the block code: EFM.   Rooms credited to this room block will be direct paid.  You will be asked for your credit card at check-in, but you should only be responsible for any incidental charges to your room.

The block closes on May 3, 2019.  Please make your lodging reservation by the cut-off date, since the facility will not guarantee government rates after that date. Everyone is strongly encouraged to share lodging.  When you book your room, please give them both names (you and a roommate).  If you have a medical reason for not sharing a room, please contact to request the ability to book a single room.  You do not need to state the medical reason, just request single room ability because of a medical reason.

If you have any problems making your reservation, contact or and we will contact the facility.

For general questions, contact Team Leader or Program Coordinator