Building Farm and Farm Family Resilience in our Communities

Building Farm and Farm Family Resilience in our Communities

A Guide for Extension Professionals to Engage Strategically

Second Edition

By: Bonnie Braun and Maria Pippidis Photo provided by: Hank Herrea

A T T R I B U T I ON

Building Farm and Farm Family Resilience in our Communities: A Guide for Extension Professionals to Engage Strategically

Copyright © Braun, B and Pippidis, M. 2021, Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0). Published by Extension Foundation.

e-pub: 978-1-955687-00-3

Publish Date: 5/20/2021

Citations for this publication may be made using the following:

Braun, B and Pippidis, M. (2021). Building Farm and Farm Family Resilience in our Communities: A Guide for Extension Professionals to Engage Strategically (2nd ed., 1st rev.). Kansas City: Extension Foundation. ISBN: 978-1-955687-00-3

Producer: Ashley S. Griffin

Peer Review Coordinator: Heather Martin

Technical Implementer: Ashley S. Griffin

Welcome to the Building Farm and Farm Family Resilience in our Communities: A Guide for Extension Professionals to Engage Strategically, a resource created for the Cooperative Extension Service and published by the Extension Foundation. We welcome feedback and suggested resources for this publication, which could be included in any subsequent versions. This work is supported by New Technologies for Agriculture Extension grant no. 2020-41595-30123 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

For more information please contact:

Extension Foundation c/o Bryan Cave LLP One Kansas City Place

1200 Main Street, Suite 3800 Kansas City, MO 64105-2122 https://impact.extension.org/

First Edition published by the University of Maryland Extension and University of Delaware Cooperative Extension as Farm and Farm Family Risk and Resilience: A Guide for Extension Programming. 2020. https://www.udel.edu/content/dam/udelImages/canr/pdfs/extension/economic-personal-development/Farm- and-Farm-Family-Risk-and-Resilience-Guide-1-17-20.pdf

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T A B L E O F CON T E N T S

Attribution .............................................................................................................................................. 2

Table of Contents..................................................................................................................................... 3

Meet the Authors .................................................................................................................................... 6

Acknowledgments ................................................................................................................................... 7

Executive Summary ................................................................................................................................. 8 Purpose of the Guide. ......................................................................................................................................................... 8 Need for the Guide. ............................................................................................................................................................ 8 What’s New? ....................................................................................................................................................................... 8 Literature Review................................................................................................................................................................ 8 Vision. ................................................................................................................................................................................. 9 Call to Action. .................................................................................................................................................................... 10

Introduction To The Guide ..................................................................................................................... 11

Chapter 1: Why use a farm and farm family risk and resilience framework? .................................. 12

Science and Best Practices...................................................................................................................... 12

Stressors and the Farming Population .................................................................................................... 12

Types of Stressors .................................................................................................................................. 14 Ordinary stressors............................................................................................................................................................. 14 Extraordinary Stressors..................................................................................................................................................... 16 COVID-19 - A Super Extraordinary Stressor ...................................................................................................................... 17 Farm Systems Stressors. ................................................................................................................................................... 22 Stressors Summary ........................................................................................................................................................... 31 Health Challenges .................................................................................................................................. 31 Illness. ............................................................................................................................................................................... 31 Injury. ................................................................................................................................................................................ 32 Self-Treatment. ................................................................................................................................................................. 32

Health Insurance Challenges .................................................................................................................. 33

Financial Challenges............................................................................................................................... 35 Farm Income. .................................................................................................................................................................... 35 Farm Debt as a Stressor. ................................................................................................................................................... 38 Other Financial Stressors. ................................................................................................................................................. 38

Farm Transfer ........................................................................................................................................ 39

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Beginning and Young Farmers .......................................................................................................................................... 39 Relationships..................................................................................................................................................................... 39 Farm and Farm Family Risks ............................................................................................................................................. 39 From Threat to Opportunity: The Power of Resilience............................................................................. 41 Individual and Family Resilience....................................................................................................................................... 42 Farming System Resilience ............................................................................................................................................... 43 Community Resilience ...................................................................................................................................................... 44 Resilience Thinking and Doing .......................................................................................................................................... 47 Building Resilience - Social Ecological Systems ................................................................................................................ 47 Public Responses to Private Problems .................................................................................................... 50 Organizations .................................................................................................................................................................... 51 Communities ..................................................................................................................................................................... 51 Public Policy ...................................................................................................................................................................... 52 Theory and Strategies behind Responses ................................................................................................ 53 Change Theories ............................................................................................................................................................... 54 Risk and Resilience Theories............................................................................................................................................. 57 Closing comments about theoretical frameworks. .......................................................................................................... 61 Chapter 2: What outcomes could be achieved using a socio-ecological risk and resilience framework? ................................................................................................................................. 63 Risk and Resilience Educational Logic Models ......................................................................................... 65 Logic Model 1.................................................................................................................................................................... 65 Logic Model 2.................................................................................................................................................................... 66 Logic Model 3.................................................................................................................................................................... 66 Use of Logic Models.......................................................................................................................................................... 66 Chapter 3: How can Extension and other professionals apply research and theories and incorporate existing resources into programming? .......................................................................................... 68

Overview............................................................................................................................................... 68

Purpose of Chapter Three ...................................................................................................................... 69

Health and Well-Being ........................................................................................................................... 70 Assessment Tool: .............................................................................................................................................................. 70 Tools for farmers and Farm Family Audiences ................................................................................................................. 70 Tools for Professionals and Key Stakeholders: ................................................................................................................. 78 Financial Management........................................................................................................................... 84 Assessment Tools:............................................................................................................................................................. 85 Tools for Farmers and Farm Family Audiences: ............................................................................................................... 86

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Tools for Professionals and Key Stakeholders: ................................................................................................................. 89

Personal, Family, Farm and Community Resilience.................................................................................. 90 Assessment Tools.............................................................................................................................................................. 91 Tools for Farmers and Farm Family Audiences ................................................................................................................ 92 Tools for Professionals and Key Stakeholders .................................................................................................................. 93

Wrap up: ............................................................................................................................................... 95

Chapter 4: Where Do I Start?........................................................................................................ 96

Strategic Planning .................................................................................................................................. 96

Program Planning .................................................................................................................................. 97

Conclusion............................................................................................................................................. 99

Appendices ................................................................................................................................ 100 Appendix A: Logic Model One - for Professionals .......................................................................................................... 101 Appendix B: Logic Model Two - for Farmers, Farm Families & Farm Workers .............................................................. 102 Appendix C: Logic Model Three - for Stakeholders ........................................................................................................ 103 Appendix D: Program Planning Tool Page 1 ................................................................................................................... 104 Appendix D: Program Planning Tool Page 2 ................................................................................................................... 105 Appendix D: Program Planning Tool Page 3 ................................................................................................................... 106 Appendix D: Program Planning Tool Page 4 ................................................................................................................... 107

References ................................................................................................................................. 108

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M E E T TH E AU THO R S

Bonnie Braun

Maria Pippidis

Bonnie Braun, PhD, is Professor Emerita, University of Maryland School of Public Health, and retired specialist from the University of Maryland Extension. She is a member of the USDA-funded research study of Health Insurance, Rural Economic Development and Agriculture. She served on planning committees and spoke at four health and farm vitality forums based on the study findings. She is a member of the Connect Extension New Technologies in Agriculture Education grant that supported the updated version of this guide. She is a member of the Northeast Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network Advisory Committee and the University of Maryland Extension Agriculture Services Providers Training Committee funded with a SARE grant.

Maria Pippidis, AFC®, FFC®, is an Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences and County Director for the University of Delaware Cooperative Extension. She teaches finance to consumers, farmers, and farm families through Annie’s Project, Women in Agriculture, and risk management programming. She led the Delaware forum, Linking Farm Vitality and Health, funded, in part, by the Northeast Region Center for Rural Development. Maria is the principal investigator (PI) for the Connect Extension Foundation New Technologies in Agriculture Education grant that supported the revisions, update and conversion to an e-publication. She is active in the Northeast Region Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network. She is an active member of the Health Insurance Literacy Initiative and author of multiple health insurance and finance curricula and educational materials. Maria Pippidis, AFC®, FFC® County Director and Extension Family and Consumer Sciences/Financial Mgmt. University of Delaware Cooperative Extension pippidis@udel.edu

Bonnie Braun, PhD Professor Emerita, School of Public Health

Department of Family Science University of Maryland Extension bbraun@umd.edu

We stand ready to support you as you begin or expand your efforts to build resilience across individuals, families, farms, communities, organizations, and public policy.

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A C K NOWL E D GM E N T S

Our thanks to multiple people for their input that guided our thinking and organization of concepts and materials for professionals to use for educational programming including our Delaware and Maryland NTAE team members

Reviewers: We want to acknowledge the following individuals from multiple disciplines who provided content and usability reviews of this e-Fieldbook version.

David Buys, Associate Professor, Health Specialist, Mississippi State University, david.buys@msstate.edu

Leslie A. Forstadt , Ph.D. Extension Associate Professor, Human Development Specialist and Director, Maine Agricultural Mediation Program, University of Maine Extension, leslie.forstadt@maine.edu

Susan Harris , Extension Educator, University of Nebraska Extension, Lead, Wellness in Tough Times NTAE Project, susan.harris@unl.edu

Lorna Wounded Head , Family Resource Management Field Specialist, South Dakota State University Extension, Lorna.WoundedHead@sdstate.edu

Adam Kantrovich , AgriBusiness Specialist, Clemson University, akantro@clemson.edu

Emily Krekelber , Extension Educator, Livestock & Director, Rural Stress Task Force, University of Minnesota Extension, krek0033@umn.edu

David Thompson , Swine Management Educator and member of Michigan State University Extension Managing Farm Stress Task Force, tom1637@msu.edu

Sandra Thompson , Ed.D. Community Development Extension Specialist, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension, CIVIC Impact Team (deliberative forums). sandra.thompson@famu.edu

Advisors: Many thanks to the following members of the New Technologies for Agriculture Extension(NTAE) Team. They have been supportive in so many ways. An extra big Thank You to Ashley who took leadership publishing this eFieldbook edition.

Tira Adelman , Administrative Support & Reporting Karl Bradley , Leadership Beverly Coberly , Administrative Support Ashley Griffin , Publications Rose Hayden-Smith , Digital Engagement Chuck Hibberd , Catalyst

Megan Hirschman , Partnership Molly Immendorf , Professional Development

Akashi Kaul , Evaluation Rick Klemme , Catalyst

Heather Martin , Peer Review Coordinator Aaron Weibe , Marketing/Communications

Editor: Many thanks to Lynn Little , retired University of Maryland Extension Educator, for her diligent and extensive editing of references, figures, and photographs.

Cover Photo: Hank Herrera, W.K. Kellogg Class 6 Leadership Fellow, took this photo after a storm on the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming. The building and light pole appear tilted, serving as a reminder that just as some stressors are out of our control, so too are phenomena that bring hope. Hope, associated with resilience, can get us through tough times when life on the farm is tilted and unpredictable.

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E X E CU T I V E S UMMA R Y

Purpose of the Guide. To strengthen the ability of Extension professionals to reduce risk and stressors and increase the resilience of farms and farming families within the context of a socioecological framework. The guide was created to help professionals think and act through a research-based, theory- informed, multidisciplinary approach to addressing problems and issues, and creating solutions. Need for the Guide. As two seasoned professionals who have worked for Extension through at least two other eras of the farm crisis, we believed that stress management was a necessary but insufficient approach for Extension and partners. Our training and programming experiences pointed to the need for additional approaches that addressed underlying problems as well as symptoms of those problems, not just from an individual perspective but from multiple perspectives. We believed that a socio-ecological approach would not only teach individuals how to prevent and manage stress but look at the role of families, the community, and public policies in positioning the farm and family to be resilient, and at times to engage in the public policy arena. And the approach would be research-based and theoretically sound, resulting in a multidisciplinary, integrated approach to farm and farm family health and well-being. The 2020 edition of this guide was created to provide a framework for programming that not only informs but moves individuals, families, professionals, and public policymakers to take action to prevent or mitigate sources of stress (Braun & Pippidis, 2020). The need for the original guide grew out of several Extension and research projects, including the USDA-AFRI study, Health Insurance, Rural Economic Development and Agriculture , the Extension Smart Choice-Smart Use Health Insurance program, and a request from the University of Maryland College of Agriculture and Natural Resources to explain why suicide is so prevalent among farmers. These projects, involving the authors, were underway at a time when the health and well-being of farms and farm families were becoming headlines in the media and topics of angst for Extension and other professionals providing education and services for the farming population. The impact of stressors on people and farm enterprises, sometimes resulting in suicides, was pushing Extension, health, and finance professionals to address stress on farms more directly. What’s New? This 2021 eFieldbook version of the guide is a product of a grant from the Connect Extension Foundation’s New Technology in Agriculture Education awarded to the University of Delaware Cooperative Extension. Under the tutelage of the team of advisors to the project, we updated the first edition and converted it to an eFieldbook. This version includes new sections on the impacts of COVID-19 on the farming enterprise and farming population, minority and women farmers, and community resilience. It also includes 50 new references and multiple audio and video recordings that provide testament to the literature and/or explain a concept in depth. Literature Review. Our search for such an approach to undergird Extension stress-related programming led us to examine risk management in use by the agricultural field and of resilience used in agriculture, community development, and health, including mental and financial health and well-being and human development and family science. Our literature review examined seminal writings and research

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conducted during the past 15 years in the United States and other countries, resulting in nearly 150 citations included in the reference section. We included change and resilience theoretical models. We created a framework for exploring risk and resilience concepts related to farms and farm families based on a socio- ecological model for programming. For this new edition, we updated the literature review and financial citations and included more information about mental health and stressors related to COVID-19 and the farming enterprise and populations, emphasizing women and minority farmers. We added a new section focused on community resilience as related to farm populations. And we added tools for teaching and assessment. Finally, we included many audio and video recordings that amplify the concepts and often include stories from a diverse representation of farmers.

Vision. Our modified conceptual framework is grounded in the 2014 Cooperative Extension National Framework for Health and Wellness (Braun et al., 2014) with our slightly modified vision shown below:

In the 21st century, Extension can do for the resilience of farms and the farming population what it did for American agriculture in the 20th century.

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Cal l to Action. Many professionals offer information about stress and managing stress. Such education is necessary but insufficient.

Few professionals offer a risk and resilience framework with a socio-ecological theoretical model approach to the physical, mental, emotional, and financial health and well-being of farmers, their families, and associated individuals. An integrated, research-based, and theoretically sound systems-focused approach is needed. A resilience-based intervention is 90% likely to produce positive effects (Macedo et al., 2014). And in an evaluation of an Extension program, 100% of participants thought a risk and resilience approach was worthy of taxpayer’ dollars (Jackman et al., 2015). Therefore, we urge Extension professionals to respond to our call to action by applying a risk and resilience, systems-focused approach to their programming that addresses multiple aspects of thriving farming and farm family living within supportive communities. The premise of this guide is that it will take an integrated, research-based, and theoretically sound systems-focused approach to effectively prevent or mitigate risk stressors and build the resilience of farms and farm families.

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I N T RO D U C T I ON TO TH E GU I D E

A guiding principle of Extension is that educational programming is based on knowledge generated through unbiased, research-based, scientific inquiry. The intent of Extension programming is to apply that knowledge to information-sharing and learning experiences that enable individuals, families, businesses, communities, and public policymakers to more effectively address personal problems and public issues affecting their work and lives. Increasingly, Extension works with other professionals in health, finance, and other fields who serve those we serve.

This guide contains the following:

A literature review and a farm and farm family risk and resilience framework

A set of three logic models for programming for three different audiences

Tools for assessments and teaching

Other teaching resources

The guide can do the following:

1. Stimulate thought and dialogue among Extension and other professionals.

2. Shepherd professionals in designing, testing, and evaluating programming.

3. Provide a common set of background information and teaching tools for individuals and teams from multiple disciplines and different professional settings.

The guide is divided into four sections to address four questions about programming to reduce risk and increase the resilience of farms, farm families, and associated communities:

1. Why use a risk and resilience theoretical framework?

2. What outcomes could be achieved using a socio-ecological risk and resilience model?

3. How can Extension and other professionals apply research and theory and incorporate existing resources into programming?

4.

Where do I start?

Finally, the guide includes references used in the literature review. These references can be used by professionals for additional information, preparation of grant proposals, and conducting research.

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Chapter 1: Why use a farm and farm family risk and resilience framework?

S C I E N C E AN D B E S T P R A C T I C E S

To build a strong foundation on which to conduct intervention and programming means understanding how best to address stress on farms, farm families, communities, and external systems. This understanding can then provide guidance for educational programming, educational materials development, and evidence for assessing the effectiveness of interventions conducted by Extension and other professionals. Our search for answers to “how” ultimately led to existing research and theories of the stress -risk connection, resilience, and ecological systems. Conclusions drawn from the literature informed the creation of a farm and farm family risk and resilience framework socio-ecological model. This section of the guide

includes a brief overview of existing research and theories.

The science of risk and resilience provides an appropriate knowledge base that can guide educational, research, and direct service programs. Risk and resilience span the disciplines of agriculture and the natural environment, social and cultural environments and human ecology, human development, family science, health, emotional and mental health, psychology, sociology, and others.

In this section, we have included brief explanations of risk and resilience science for thinking about and taking action, addressing stress and crises with respect to the total health and vitality of farms, the individuals, and supporting the farm and the community. The research led to our conclusion that a socio- ecological approach to strengthening farms and farm families is needed.

S T R E S S O R S AN D TH E F A RM I NG P O P U L A T I ON

Farms and farm families experience ordinary and extraordinary stressors and change because of the interdependent nature of the farm family business and farm family living (Braun, 2019).

Extraordinary stresses add additional pressures to farming enterprises and threaten their future. Examples include increasing periods of drought, rain and storms, volatile markets, tariffs, and resulting falling commodity prices (Burnett, 2014; Co Bank, 2019; Dudensing et al., 2017; Kearney et al., 2014; Swayne, M. 2018; U.S. Global Climate Research Program 2018). COVID-19 is another extraordinary stressor. Both race and gender are other sources of extraordinary stress. Responses to those pressures range from dismay to distress to despair — and even to suicide — often accompanied by the onset of chronic health issues.

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In addition to the extraordinary stresses, the farming population experiences ordinary stresses. Ordinary stresses include the constancy of responsibilities to make or keep the farm profitable; beginning and/or retaining a farming legacy; juggling on and off-farm work; caring for family members; dealing with illness or injury; accessing health care; obtaining health insurance; managing multi-generational tensions (Fullerton, 2017); and handling weariness and loneliness (Braun, 2019). Both types of stresses may destabilize individuals, families, farms, and local communities. Agricultural communities experience downturns in their economies and available social capital to do the important work of community engagement when the farming population is coping with the pile-up of stress. Cooperative Extension has historically responded to the challenge of changes affecting agriculture and the farming population with a focus on individuals and farms. Professionals within and outside of Extension, representing multiple disciplines, are seeking ways to understand and address contemporary impacts of change, with accompanying stress, on farming, farming populations, and the public. Some professionals identified the need during the 1980s farm crisis, and some have identified the need after more recent downturns in farming profitability, described in news reports of suicides and indicated in farm organization surveys, and recent research. An array of professionals from multiple disciplines is calling for help in developing their understanding of the problems and issues, identifying resources they can use to help the people they serve, and in gaining confidence to act. Some are seeking help as they handle their personal reactions to stresses and crises of those they serve. Evidence of the presence of stress (distress) and sources of stress (stressors) is found in literature from the United States and other countries. Stress has no jurisdictional boundaries. Stress becomes distress when there is a pile-up of stressors that can overwhelm the ability to process without some negative impact. This pile-up is also known as cumulative stress. Farm and farm family stress — more accurately, distress — is brought on by pressures experienced by members of the farming population, farming systems, and farms as a business. Stress is a response to change in internal conditions or external conditions or both. It is a response to environmental demands and changes within an individual, family, or farm or outside in economic, social, environmental, policy, or physical environments.

Farm and farm family stress — more accurately, distress — is brought on by pressures experienced by members of the farming population, farming systems, and farms as a business.

This 4-minute TED-ED video, How Stress Affects Your Brain, provides a brief overview of the impact of stress, and especially chronic stress, on the brain and body. This overview is fundamental to understanding stressors and mental and physical health within the farming population. https://www.ted.com/talks/madhumita_murgia_ho w_stress_affects_your_brain/transcript?language= en#t-2030

VIDEO

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In this 22-minute video, produced in late 2020 by the American Psychological Association (APA) and Farm Aid, Arthur C. Evans, Jr., APA CEO, talked to Minnesota dairy farmer Meg Moynihan about the unique stressors facing farmers and the health benefits of getting help.

VIDEO

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8FFJeQRUse0 &feature=emb_logo

T Y P E S O F S T R E S S O R S

Stressors appear to cluster into two categories: ordinary, or regular, stressors and extraordinary stressors. Ordinary and extraordinary stressors can deter farm business success or contribute to positive changes (Braun, 2019).

Stress is part of the “constancy of responsibilities” described by Beth Kennett, co-owner and co- operator of Liberty Trees Farm in Vermont. Beth also speaks to having a health emergency and to the contribution of farmers to communities in this 6-minute video.

Site: https://www.hirednag.net/resources-for- farmers

VIDEO

Video: https://vimeo.com/236252854

Ordinary stressors. Farm families experience daily stresses over the same things that stress non- farm families, like employment, childcare, household management, financial stability and interpersonal relationships. However, the mixing of the farm business and the family creates some unique stressors. For farm families, they are tied to the farm as a workplace and their home. For many, off-farm employment is necessary to provide cash to finance the family and farm and insurance to partially cover health care costs (Inwood et al., 2018). Intergenerational tensions are conflated with roles as family members and roles as farm owners, operators and/or laborers. A study of multi-generational farm relationships found conflicts between generations around management, decision making, and the transfer of the farm operation (Danes & Lee, 2004).

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Some are challenged by the profitability of long-term farming operations; others, especially beginning farmers, are challenged by new ventures. New ventures present their own set of stressors. Tensions may arise between the entrepreneur and immediate and extended family members. Researchers are acknowledging the importance of family context on start-up success and sustainability (Hanson et al., 2019; Yang & Danes, 2015). “There’s a heavy pressure – the weight of expectations and a sense of failing the next generation. ”

- U.S. Representative J.T. Wilcox WA speaking to farmers in 2018

Farm families may struggle with building and maintaining a farming legacy. Their deeply felt

connections to the land and to what, for many, is a “calling” can also become a stressor if there are different connections to the land among family members or when the viability of the farm is at risk (Rosmann, 2008).

In this 1-minute, 20-second video, Mike Harrison, owner-operator of a multigenerational soybean farming business in Howard County, Maryland, talks about the importance of being a farmer.

Site: https://mymdfarmers.com/ Video: https://youtu.be/DJuH1l5kNaE

VIDEO

In this 4-minute video, Russell and Jewel Bean talk about returning to their family farm after corporate careers. They were determined to continue their family legacy farm. Their work was recognized by the Alabama NRCS with a 2017 Small Farmers of the Year Award.

VIDEO

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3sP6X8duaGY

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Extraordinary Stressors

Extraordinary stressors are those demands and changes that become crises and put farm businesses and farm families at risk. Extraordinary stressors are beyond an individual’s control. They are disruptors. They include downturns in the agricultural economy (Dudensing et al., 2017); increasing weather uncertainties (Swayne, 2018); labor shortages (USDA Economic Research Service (ERS), 2019); trade and market uncertainties (Co Bank, 2019); and, in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic. These disruptors produce a lack of consistent farm income for many farm businesses and families and a lack of access to food for community members. One study found evidence of post-traumatic stress syndrome after a damaging weather event (Kearney et al., 2014). Studies have documented that ordinary and extraordinary stressors are risks with which farmers, farm families, and the farming workforce must cope. They are dynamic, disruptive, and destructive forces that affect health, vitality, and viability of farms, farm families, and farming communities.

This 11-minute video features the experience of a third-generation farmer near Camilla, Georgia, prior to, during, and after Hurricane Michael in 2018. Worsham Farms grew and produced over 1,500 acres of sweet corn, 1,200 acres of peanuts, and 2,500 acres of pecans — with trees over 100 years old. The farmer talks about the challenge of starting over and rebuilding in the face of massive destruction.

VIDEO

Site: https://agamerica.com/videos/hurricane- michael-impacts-farmers/

Video: https://youtu.be/zT0oAp60gns

Extraordinary stressors produce a lack of consistent farm income for many farm businesses and families. They also produce distress among the farming population. When stress piles up, the ability to make sound decisions, adopt agricultural best practices and take appropriate action decreases (Burnett, 2014). Family dynamics are affected (Hirsch & Cukrowicz, 2014), and illness and injury increase (Jadhav et al., 2015; Simpson et al., 2004) along with feelings of despair (Freeman et al., 2008). The farm, and the people who farm, become at risk. The extent and duration of the extraordinary stressors, when combined with the stress of the constancy of ordinary responsibilities, can threaten even thriving and stable farm enterprises and farm families. Research has documented ties between the pile-up of ordinary and extraordinary stress and chronic health problems, the use of substances to alleviate pain or numb feeling, and even suicide (Fraser et al., 2005; Dudensing et al., 2017). Medical research has found that chronic psychological distress is associated not only with poor mental health but also with the body losing its ability to regulate the inflammatory response, which can lead to illness and the progression of diseases (Carnegie Mellon University, 2012). Nearly two-thirds of farmers — even young farmers — in one study reported pre-existing conditions (Inwood et al., 2018).

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In this 2019, 60-minute webinar, sponsored by the American Psychological Association and Farm Aid, a panel addresses stressors faced by farmers and ways to help them overcome barriers to mental health care. Speakers include Michael Rosmann, Ph.D., Psychologist; Meg Moynihan, Dairy Farmer and Senior Advisor to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture; and Alicia Harvie, Director of Farmer Services for Farm Aid. The panel explains the farming culture and environmental and economic conditions that affect farmer s’ mental health and well-being. Site: https://www.apa.org/members/content/farmer- mental-health

VIDEO

Video: https://youtu.be/c7K6VQotDJk

COVID-19 - A Super Extraordinary Stressor

COVID-19 is an extraordinary stressor experienced in 2020 by the farming population, farming and allied enterprises, and by consumers. The effects will continue in 2021 and beyond. Early indicators of COVID-19 effects are found in several studies. Effects on Farmers. The USDA chief economist released an article in October 2020 with an overview of COVID-19 effects on farm operations (Johansson, 2020). According to the economist, farmers had been through multiple years of financial distress going into the pandemic. Then, in 2020, the pandemic produced supply and demand shocks in the food system. For farmers and farm families, effects included a reduction in demand for biofuels, corn in particular, as the public drove less; decline in restaurant food sales, especially for meat, dairy, and specialty crops; falling gate prices and extra output of some l ivestock, milk and perishable products; and rising rates of farm loan delinquency. According to March 2020 figures, cited by the chief economist, bankruptcies continued a five-year rise, with a 23% increase from 2019. And some farmers counting on off-farm income to service debt lost part or all of that income due to COVID 19-related unemployment (Becot et al., 2020). In previous research (Inwood et al., 2019), farmers also used off-farm income and employment for their health insurance to manage risk (Inwood et al., 2018). Near the end of 2020, Johansson remained optimistic that U.S. agriculture could recover as reflected in this quote: The COVID-19 outbreak has severely dampened expectations for 2020 and 2021. And, while the timing and pace of the economic recovery remain uncertain, the fundamentals of U.S. agriculture are sufficiently strong to withstand the crisis. (Johansson, 2020). In April 2020, the Farm, Food and Agribusiness COVID-19 Impact Survey was conducted by the Ohio Farm Bureau and state commodity organizations. In the course of a week, data were collected from slightly over 1,100 farmers. Within this group, 65% reported a negative or very negative impact on farm revenue. Among those farmers, market distribution channel problems and cash flow issues were at the top of the list of negative effects. They also reported problems with access to sanitation and protective equipment; selling directly to consumers and restaurants; transportation; access to supplies; and business resources, including labor and processors (Ohio Farm Bureau, 2020).

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In a study of 611 farmers conducted by the Trust in Food Farm Journal Initiative (Rayburn, 2020), 62% of respondents said that COVID-19 impacted their farming operation. Among those, 96% faced reduced prices; 67% saw reduced demand, and 50% felt mental distress. Trust in Food also reported that in another study of farmers and people connected to farming, the response to the statement, “I have never been so stressed,” more than doubled in 2020 compared to self -reported levels in 2019. In January 2021, the National Farmers Coalition and the American Farm Bureau released the results of a survey of 2,000 adults in rural areas conducted in December 2020 (Morning Consult, 2020). The study compared results to a similar study conducted in April 2019. Sixty percent of respondents said they were concerned about financial issues; 51% about the future; 54% about losing the farm; and 50% about how the farm economy was affecting farmers’ mental health. Among the farmers and farmw orkers who responded, 66% said the pandemic had affected their mental health, and 58% said they were having more mental health challenges than a year ago. Farmers and farmworkers reported that they were 10% more likely than rural adults to have felt nervous, anxious, or on edge. The percentage who said social isolation had affected their mental health increased 22% since the first survey. The younger the survey participants, the more likely they were to report that COVID-19 had affected their mental health considerably. Loneliness, often experienced by farmers along with ordinary and extraordinary stress, is linked to declining physical, mental, and emotional well- being. More specifically, loneliness “increases blood pressure and cholesterol; activates physical and psychological stress responses; contributes to cardiovascular disease — the number one cause of death in the United States; and suppresses the immune system — our protection from illness and disease” (Lobley & Wheeler, 2020). The COVID -19 pandemic contributed to social isolation because people were told to be socially distant to prevent the spread of the virus. The topic is so prevalent that in the fall of 2020, a study was launched to examine cultural and social factors affecting the lived experience of loneliness, social isolation, and mental health in farming communities (Lobley & Wheeler, 2020). Social isolation occurs when an individual isn’t engaged with family, friends, and others (Williams & Braun, 2019). Withdrawal from social interactions is often a characteristic of farmers and family members experiencing a pile-up of stress or dealing with crises. A study released in January 2021 found that there was a 22% increase, compared with the results of an April 2019 survey, in farmers and farm workers reporting that social isolation was affecting their mental health (Morning Consult, 2019). Positive social bonds among family and extended family members and with people in the community are associated with better health. A meta-analysis of multiple studies found that strong and deep social connections were associated with a 50% drop in the risk of early death (Holt-Lunstad et al., 2017). For some farmers, COVID-19 affected the accessibility of social support within geographic communities. Effects on Young Farmers. The National Coalition of Young Farmers conducted a study in April 2020 to identify young farmers’ top challenges during COVID -19. Seventy-five percent of participating farmers said they had seen a reduction in the number of outlets for selling their products; 53% incurred additional costs for implementing alternative sales strategies; 45% said they couldn’t complete planned projects; 45% lacked having available technical support; and 26% said they had trouble retaining employees. One or more “non - farm” effects were reported by 70% of parti cipating young farmers. Those effects included loss of off- farm income; increased caregiving; and handling personal health effects of COVID-19 (Lemos & Ackoff, 2020).

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Effects on Farm Workers. Farmworkers join farmers in providing the labor to supply food for the nation and beyond. They were designated as essential workers and targeted to receive COVID-19 vaccinations early in vaccine distribution (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2021). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducted a study of COVID-19 among meat and poultry plant workers. As of April 2020, 4,913 employees had been infected, and 20 virus-related deaths had occurred in 115 of those plants (Dyal et al., 2020). By June 2020, five workers from two poultry plants on Maryland’s Eastern Shore had died, and 200 workers had been infected (Dance, 2020). By July, another worker had died, and infections among meatpacking workers had increased to 570. It’s likely t hat many other infections were not reported. As of mid-January 2021, there were 81,386 confirmed cases in 1,363 meatpacking and food processing facilities and 383 deaths among meat packing, food processing and farm workers (Douglas, 2020). Latino farmworkers have accounted for a disproportionate share of COVID-19 cases. They exhibited five to seven times the risk of COVID-19 related deaths compared to Whites (Bassett et al., 2020). A Florida study conducted in 2020 examined risk factors for COVID-19 among crop workers in Florida and across the United States. The study showed that 84% of crop workers across the U.S. and 75% in Florida had at least one precondition that put them at greater risk of complications from the virus, including diabetes, liver disease, heart condition, and kidney disease (Onel et al., 2020). The study also found that male workers over age sixty, with a pre-existing condition, were at risk of serious illness after having the virus. Another study, conducted in the Salinas Valley of California, also investigated risk factors among farmworkers. Many of the California workers had preexisting conditions, including obesity, hypertension, and diabetes. Close living quarters also put the workers at greater risk. This study also examined the effect of COVID-19 on mental well-being. Among the workers surveyed, 91% saw the virus as a threat; 85% were either concerned or very concerned about contracting it; 82% said COVID-19 had a negative or extremely negative effect on their lives; 37% were experiencing very low food security; 33% were afraid of losing their employment if they got sick; 32% had a loved one get sick or die; 8% were identified as likely having a major depressive order; and 6% were identified as likely having generalized anxiety (University of California, 2020). Effects on Physical Health. COVID-19 presents a threat to the health of farmers. With the average age of farmers being 58 years, and 30% being 65 years or older, and with most farmers having a pre-existing condition, a high percentage of them are vulnerable to the virus (Inwood et al., 2018). Especially vulnerable are farmers of color, including Black and Latino farmers, and farmworkers who work or live in close quarters.

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