Got Your Back

FARM STRESS? We've Got Your Back

Delaware is a small state that is big in agriculture. We know our farmers give so much of themselves to keep the industry strong. We also know so many factors in farming are out of a farmer’s control, and that can be stressful. Wondering if the weather will cooperate, long hours working alone – it can all affect the well-being of the farm family.

We want you to know, you’re not alone. We want you to know, there is help available. We want you to know, we’ve got your back.


Get Help


Everyone experiences stress. Stress comes in many forms – challenges on the farm, chronic disease, or an argument with a loved one. But all types of stressors result in the same physical and emotional burden on health.

Symptoms of stress can also take many forms. Stress may cause physical complaints, such as tension headaches, back pain, indigestion, or heart palpitations. It may appear as poor concentration and difficulty making decisions. Emotional symptoms of stress include crying, irritability, and edginess. And stress can also show up as negative behaviors. Driving a car too fast, overeating, or smoking can all be behavioral symptoms of stress.

To learn more about the impacts of chronic stress, watch this TedTalk Video by Sharon Horesh Bergquist.

Resources for stress management

Understanding stress and what to do to help reduce it
 

  • Coping with Life's Threats — A DHSS website that provides ideas for managing stress.
  • Stronger Together— A Farm Bureau publication and online resource outlining symptoms, strategies and crisis intervention  resources.
  • How to Cultivate a Productive Mindset — This Michigan State University Extension publication provides tools you can use to manage stress resiliently and provides additional readings.
  • Farm and Ranch Family Stress and Depression — A Checklist and Guide for Making Referrals.  This checklist makes knowing what to say and do very easy. It was developed by Robert J. Fetsch, Colorado State University and Roger T. Williams, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Help in a crisis

 

  • Delaware Hope Line — 1 (833) 9-HOPEDE or (833) 946-7333 – is a free, confidential 24 hours a day, seven days a week service that connects callers to a variety of resources and information, including support from clinicians and peer specialists plus crisis assistance. The Hope Line, provides a single point of contact for individuals to tap into DSAMH’s range of services and resources.
  • Delaware’s Help is Here  — This website connects you to the right type of help. Whether you need assistance in the areas of mental health, prevention, recovery, treatment or addiction services, this website provides up to date listing of local resources.
  • Crisis Text Line for Youth  — Text the keyword ‘DE’ to 741 741 to be connected to a trained Crisis Counselor with this free, confidential service.
  • National Suicide Prevention Hotline — The Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.
  • Farm Aid’s Hotline — If you need to talk to someone directly, we are here to listen. You can call our farmer hotline at 1-800-FARM-AID (1-800-327-6243). Farmer Services staff answer the hotline Monday through Friday from 9am to 5pm eastern time.

Family


Stress impacts the entire family. Even when parents work hard to shield their family from their own stress, family members are often still impacted.  Children model their parents’ behaviors, including those related to managing stress. Parents who deal with stress in unhealthy ways risk passing those behaviors on to their children. Managing the stress of each family member is important to maintaining a healthy family. Below are some resources that may be helpful.

 

  • Identifying Support Networks — This factsheet provides ideas for building your support network especially when managing in challenging times.
  • Just in Time Parenting – This national Cooperative Extension website provides newsletters and other age based resources for parents. Appropriate for prenatal parents to be to those with children up to 5 years old. Subscribe to this award winning series for monthly emailed newsletters that are based on the age of your child.
  • Bully Prevention — This website has resources for youth, their families and school personnel to help understand how bullying affects children and resources to use if children have been bullied.
  • Social Workers in the Libraries – This unique service provides an opportunity for families with visit with a Delaware DHSS Community Partner Support Unit for free. Currently workers are scheduling remote appointments and you can schedule by going online. These professionals can help you identify resources that can help your family – from childcare to health care to long term care.

Finances


Family finances

Family and Farm finances are often intertwined but taking control of the family finances can help reduce stress especially if the farm resources are stretched. Below are some local organizations that can help and some fact sheets that shed some light on the topic of family finance.
 

  • Delaware Money School — The Money School offers FREE financial education classes and financial literacy resources to Delawareans. Participants gain a better understanding of the consumer marketplace and the current economic environment while learning skills necessary to take charge of their financial situations, plan for the future and avoid financial pitfalls. This initiative is managed by the Delaware Community Reinvestment Action Council, Inc., (DCRAC).
  • $tand by Me — $tand By Me offers free one-on-one support to Delawareans who want to understand more about their money, make good financial decisions, and achieve financial goals.
  • Managing Money in Tough Times: Taking Charge in Challenging Times — Developed by Personal Finance Extension Professionals, this series of online lessons helps readers take control of their finances and set a course for a more stable financial future.
  • Helping Friends Cope with Financial Crisis — Understanding how to reach out to a friend or family member experiencing a financial crisis can help you assist them during their time of need. Knowing what resources are available can prepare you to help. And being aware of signs of depression can alert you to their need for professional help

 

Farm finances

Farm Finances can be a stressor. Connecting with people who can support you can help you get organized and reduce your stress.

  • FINPACK — Developed by the University of Minnesota, this financial software helps producers see an in-depth financial picture of their farm. With FINPACK farm families can easily consider the financial feasibility of potential production alternatives or farm expansion to make informed management decisions. Laurie Wolinski of U of DE Extension has the software and is available to consult about creating a confidential file for your farm.  If you’d like to learn more or schedule a time to consult, please email Laurie Wolinski.
  • USDA Farm Service Agency Direct Farm Loans, Guaranteed Farm Loans, Farm Ownership Loans, Farm Operating Loans, Emergency Loans, CFAP 
  • Small Business Administration — The Small Business Association (SBA) announced they will begin accepting new Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Advance applications on May 4th, 2020.
  • UMD Department of Agriculture & Resource Economics — The following Factsheets were developed to support farm financial decision making and risk management.

Health


Having access to health and mental health resources is important but some times we don’t know where to turn or feel confident enough to ask the right kinds of questions. These resources can get you connected to health, health insurance and other resources that can help you and your family stay well.

  • USDA Rural Development Telehealth Service Changes — This document outlines the changes in policy regarding use and access to telehealth services and provides an additional link to acceptable services.
  • Social Workers in the Libraries - Social workers from DHSS Community Partner Support Unit will help you understand and get connected to a number of Delaware services including: 
    • ASSIST application process for all health and social service programs

    • Applying for food benefits

    • Medicaid

    • Long-term nursing care

    • Childcare

    • Home energy assistance

    • Learning about other DHSS agencies

    • Referrals to partner organizations

    • Employment & training

  • Health Insurance 4 U – This online course provides short videos and resources you can use to learn more about choosing and using health insurance that support your farm family.
  • Linking Farm Vitality and Health — UD Cooperative Extension has been cultivating resources that help farmers and their communities better understand that healthy farm operators and workers is imperative to having thriving farming operations and the communities in which they support. At this site there are resources for both farmers, educators and community members, including a 16 page Delmarva Farmer supplement addressing the issues faced by farmers.
  • Farm and Farm Family Risk and Resilience Toolkit – This UD Cooperative Extension website provides resources regarding building resilient farms. The Toolkit includes a guide for educators, webinars and tools that can be used to help build understanding and awareness about resilient farms and communities.

Legal


The legal profession can provide a different perspective when sorting out financial, health and family issues. These resources may be helpful.

  • Maryland Ag Law Center — The Agriculture Law Education Initiative (ALEI) is a collaboration of the Francis King Carey School of Law at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB); the College of Agriculture & Natural Resources at the University of Maryland (UMCP); and the School of Agriculture and Natural Sciences at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES).
  • Succession Planning Check List — This check list provides a handy resource for starting and finishing a farm succession and transfer plan. Additional resources can be found at the University of Delaware Cooperative Extension Farm Succession and Estate Planning Website.

Other Resources


We can all make a difference in the lives of others. There are resources to help equip everyday citizens with the skills to recognize and intervene when they see someone struggling. Get involved by exploring some of these training opportunities.
 

  • Delaware Cooperative Extension — There are many online courses and resources available from UD Cooperative Extension on a variety of topics relevant to farms and farm families and workers – nutrition, health, stress management, personal finance, health insurance as well as many farm management topics.
  • Delaware Department of Agriculture— The DDA strives to effectively and efficiently sustain and promote the viability of food, fiber, and agricultural industries in Delaware through quality services that protect and enhance the environment, health, and welfare of the general public. Much information is provided for farmers and consumers on this site.
  • Delaware LibGuide — This site provides farm financial and farm family health resources that we identified as a result of a Linking Farm Vitality and Health Forum. Partner organizations provided resources to be posted on this site.
  • Women in Agriculture/Annie’s Project Webinars — Previously recorded webinars on a variety of topics including farm stress.

Get Involved/Learn More

 

Get Involved

We can all make a difference in the lives of others. There are resources to help equip everyday citizens with the skills to recognize and intervene when they see someone struggling. Get involved by exploring some of these training opportunities and the efforts of these local organizations.

  • Delaware’s Farm Stress Task Force — A group of organizations working together to raise awareness about the link between farm vitality and health. By helping to provide resources and education to farmers and those who work with farmers we help to increase the capacity of our communities to support farm and farm family health. To get connected contact Maria Pippidis, or Laurie Wolinski at the University of Delaware Cooperative Extension.
  • Save the Shore Farmer — This Maryland Eastern Shore initiative is designed to help inform community members about the high incidence of suicide and depression of farmers. It provides information and resources and offers ways to get involved

 

Learn more

Learning more about behavioral health, mental health and managing stress can help you better understand how to cope for yourself and family members but also how to respond if a family member, co-worker or friend is in trouble. Consider learning more. 

COVID—19

 

  • Delaware COVID-19 — State of Delaware government site with Covid-19 updates/
  • Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission Covid-19 resources — This site provides resources compiled from local, state, and federal organizations regarding COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) and its impact on the agricultural community in Maryland.
  • USDA COVID-19 Resources — This USDA site providers information on the following categories: 
    • Farmer Resources
    • Food Assistance
    • Loans and Grants
    • School Meals
    • Food Supply Chain
    • Animals and Plants
    • National Forests
    • Reports and Research
  • USDA COVID-19 Farmer Resources — This site is part of the previous USDA site and includes information on the following topics:
    • Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) 
    • Crop Insurance 
    • Farm Programs 
    • Grading and Auditing 
    • Paycheck Protection Program  
    • Reporting Market Concerns 
    • Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs  
    • USDA Service Centers

Partnering Organizations