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We want to take a moment on National Ag Day to recognize our country’s hard-working farmers and ranchers. We depend on you to supply food, fuel, and fiber while working in tough conditions. It’s a critical job that most people don’t understand or appreciate. 

We know that your work is tiring and causes chronic injuries over the years – back pain, arthritis, trouble hearing. On top of the heavy work, your mind is stressed too – unpredictable weather, fluctuating operating costs, new regulations to adapt to. Being on call 24/7 means little time for yourself or your family. Additionally, living in rural areas can feel lonely at times. 

While these realities come with the job you’ve taken on, we worry about the toll this takes on farmers and ranchers over the years. So we want you to know – it’s okay to admit when you feel overwhelmed, stressed, grumpy, or down. It’s very common in your line of work. The most important thing is that you make time to take care of yourself – even when the farm work isn’t done. 

Here are some ways you can take care of yourself: 

  • Take 30-minute breaks every day. Take this time for yourself and do something you enjoy like going for a short walk or listening to music or a podcast. 
  • Protect your sleep. Turn off screens 1 hour before bedtime and get 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Lack of sleep makes mental and physical health problems worse. 
  • Talk often with other farmers and ranchers. Join farming clubs, online groups, and Facebook groups. Other farmers get what your life is like. Talking can help you feel supported. 

We hope you can find some quiet moments to relax as you work so hard to feed everyone. Please remember that even with all your duties, taking care of your body and mind should still come first.  

Our country needs farmers healthy and strong enough to do all the physical work. We also need farmers feeling calm and focused to make good choices about the land. If you feel like you need more help for feelings of stress or sadness, think about using digital cognitive behavioral therapy. It can provide private, flexible help right from your house. Wishing you and your family the very best!