The Wisconsin Farm Center, a free and confidential resource available to all farmers in the state, reported more than 2,300 calls from farmers in 2018. As of May 30, 2019, the center had received more than 1,000. Farm Center staff said most of these calls are related to finances and levels of distress.
As farmers face some of the most challenging economic times in decades, Wisconsin agricultural groups are banding together to talk about farm stress and encourage farm neighbors to look after one another.
#FarmNeighborsCare is a social media campaign that asks rural residents to have face-to-face conversations with farmers and agri-business owners. For some, this conversation and check-in may be the dose of positivity needed to make it through a tough day.
To participate, farm neighbors can put together a small ‘goodie bag’, snack or meal and take a picture to share on Facebook with #FarmNeighborsCare. Deliver that item to a farmer and stay for a few minutes of conversation. This is meant as a time to check in and see how the person or family is doing. Ideally, this will not stop at one conversation, but will become a regular habit.
The groups partnering on the #FarmNeighborsCare campaign include: AgrAbility of Wisconsin, Dairy Business Association, Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin, Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative, National Farm Medicine Center, Professional Dairy Producers, Rural Mutual Insurance Company, Wisconsin Cattlemen’s Association, Wisconsin Christmas Tree Producers Association, Wisconsin Corn Growers Association, Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation, Wisconsin Farm Center, Wisconsin Farmers Union, Wisconsin Pork Association, Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association, Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board and the Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association.
For more information on the campaign and how to participate, keep an eye on the partnering organizations’ Facebook pages.