We live in a fairly rural community by SouthWesternOntario standards. Many of our friends and neighbours are farmers or make a living in the Ag Industry. No doubt you've seen the signs on fenceposts or bumper stickers reminding you "if you ate today, thank a farmer". And its true - we owe our abundance of healthy food to the efforts of the farmers who work hard to produce it. Farmers don't get evenings and weekends off and they work through holidays to ensure livestock is fed and crops are harvested when the weather co-operates.
Did you ever stop to wonder how stressful it is to have all your assets tied up in expensive machinery? Or to have your crop at the mercy of Mother Nature? How sad a dad and mom are when they miss their child's soccer tournament because that field of hay has to be baled before the rain comes?
Farming is not an easy job - physically or mentally. It's important to recognize the stress and anxiety members of the Ag Industry face. Don't be afraid to say I'm tired or I need help. If you can help out a neighbour with a meal or a ride to hockey practice for the kids, please do. And don't underestimate the impact that stress and anxiety has on kids - they know when their parents are working long hours and are tired and irritable. That stress funnels down to kids so make sure they know it's OK to express their feelings and offer ways to help them manage their stress (exercise, socializing with friends and healthy meals can all help).
Let's recognize farming for the challenging industry it is and support those who work hard to keep us fed. There is a great new website with resources to help support the mental health of those in the Ag Industry. Check it out at https://www.domore.ag/
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