; The Consequences of Farm Stress; Crisis and Chronic Resources | Conferences | AgRisk Library


Conference Name The Consequences of Farm Stress; Crisis and Chronic Resources

Wm. Bruce Clevenger


The owners and workers of farm businesses experience a unique and high level of uncertainty in terms of weather, finances, business structure, legalities, and social changes. These careers also include physical demands, irregular work schedules, and seasonal labor pressures. Stress often occurs at low but measurable chronic levels within the business. Stress can peak during crisis situations such as financial downturns that have impact on individuals, families, and business operations.

Ohio research identifies two schools of thought regarding farm family stress. One holds that farmers are less stressed than other workers because of the idyllic pastoral setting in which they work. A second cites numerous stressors that are unique to the farm environment (e.g., adverse economic conditions and unpredictable weather) and claims that farming is a stressful occupation. The Ohio Farm Family Health and Hazard Surveillance Project (OFFHHS), a survey of 4,860 cash grain farms in Ohio, provides an opportunity to make this comparison, and to study the correlates of stress and depression among farmers.

The signs of stress, including the physical, emotional and behavioral symptoms will be presented. Additionally, healthy coping mechanisms for addressing stress will be discussed.

Learning objectives of the poster and available curriculum are: to increase awareness of stress and the impact on mental health of farm families, to provide available mental health resources for farm and horticulture businesses, to provide strategies to reduce stress among farm families, and to use case studies and/or session activities to demonstrate ways to recognize farm and business stress.