2018-03-08 / Opinions

Guest VIEWpoint

Resilience is important for growth
By Ruth Schwendinger
BA, Prevention Specialist, Huron Behavioral Health

Ruth Schwendinger Ruth Schwendinger Resilience is important for your crops - and for yourself. Personal resilience is created and fortified when you have clear goals and take decisive actions toward them. Nurture a positive view of yourself, instead of beating yourself up for things beyond your control. Farmers can’t control the rains but you can work to ensure proper soil moisture levels by prepping the fields. You can also prepare yourself to be resilient during hardship by focusing on the task at hand while and keeping a good perspective.

With crop prices near a 12-year low, this next season may find some of our local farmers at a ‘make-or-break’ point. I want to share a note I saw recently from Neal Rea, of Realfield Farm, Cambridge, New York, who serves as the Agri-Mark Family Dairy Farms Board of Directors Chairman:

“Farm families are incredibly resilient, but some residents may want to take advantage of helpful programs where they can talk with experts about work and financial stress, depression and anxiety, grief counseling, substance abuse and family relationship issues.”

Rea goes on to share resources for potential solutions with debt issues, business planning, loan restructuring, and emotional support. While the work of farming is unique, we don’t yet have a Michigan resource like Vermont’s www.farmfirst.org (password: farm), we do have access to national resources. The national nonprofit crisis hotline is 1-800-273- 8255. For you younger folks, there is also a text line 741-741 offering services in Michigan.

Whether you have national concerns about the United States possibly withdrawing from NAFTA, affecting corn and soybean prices, or the consequences of a trade war with China undercutting wheat prices - or your concerns are more local with shrinking funds from wind turbines being spent to responsibly sustain our agriculture - you are not alone!

As a community, we are dependent on our agricultural workers. As the local Community Mental Health agency, we are here to support our farming families. If you are losing perspective, talk to a neighbor, visit us online huroncmh.org, or give us a call 800-235-5568 to see how we can help improve your outlook this season.

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