Farming can be stressful even in the best of times. Financial worries, unpredictable weather and commodity prices, crop pests, livestock diseases, and isolation all contribute to farmers’ anxiety. And now Iowa’s rural communities and families are coping with the unpredictability and imposed isolation produced by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In response to this additional stress, Iowa State University Extension, in collaboration with COVID Recovery Iowa, is offering eight online programs beginning July 13. The series “Stress on the Farm: Strategies That Help” is tailored for use by anyone in the agricultural community.
“Given the anxiety produced by the COVID pandemic, we all need to be more aware of the signs of stress, not only for ourselves, but also so we can direct others to assistance,” says David Brown, a behavioral health specialist with ISU Extension.
ISU Extension is offering these webinars during the lunch hour to meet the busy schedules of people in the ag community. Each program will start at 12:30 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays, and last a half hour on these dates:
- July 13
- July 15
- July 20
- July 22
- July 27
- July 29
- Aug. 3
- Aug. 5
Agribusiness professionals, ag lenders and bankers, veterinarians, vet techs, commodity group members, producers and other concerned individuals can register at no cost for any of these programs.
Other resources available
Iowa Concern. This program offered by ISU Extension provides confidential access to stress counselors and an attorney for legal education, as well as information and referral services for a wide variety of topics.
Iowa Concern services are available 24 hours a day, seven days per week at no charge. To reach Iowa Concern, call 800-447-1985; language interpretation services are available. Or go to the website to chat with a stress counselor in a secure environment. Or email an expert regarding legal, finance, stress, or crisis and disaster issues.
COVID Recovery Iowa. This program offers a variety of services to anyone affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Virtual counselors provide counseling, activities, referral information and help finding resources for any Iowan seeking personal support. Iowans of all ages may join groups online for activities and learn creative strategies for coping with the effects of the pandemic.
COVID Recovery Iowa will announce upcoming programs on the website and via all social media to help Iowans build coping skills, resilience and emotional support.