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Serving: West
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FARMER HEALTH: Will Walter (not pictured), a South Dakota Farm and Ranch Business Management Program instructor, shares some thoughts on how to manage mental health while coping with stress on the farm.

Smart take on coping with farm stress

Maintaining your own health is just as important as maintaining your equipment.

There’s been so much written and said in the media about farm stress lately that it’s on the verge of becoming background noise.

But Will Walter, Michell Technical Institute farm business management instructor, recently broke through in a way that got my attention.

“Farmers and ranchers can be good actors,” he wrote recently. “We have to pretend not to be a bit scared when dealing with a stubborn bull and must portray confidence with our business partners. I challenge you not to be such a good actor and be honest with yourself and those that need you. Seek help if you need it. Accept help if it is offered. Surely you recall assisting others when they didn’t specifically ask and you both felt good about it.

“I challenge you to maintain your own health as well as you supervise your machinery and livestock. The combine doesn’t run all season without some maintenance and adjustments. Daily ‘reboots’ are required to keep the brain of the machine on task. We replace guards to prevent obstructions getting into the head. New disk blades are installed to cut through the ‘trash.’

“Please treat yourself and loved ones in a similar way.”

Walter listed one resource to help you manage stress and its more serious manifestations — The Help Line Center. Visit or call 1-800-273-6255. You can also text “SDfarm” to 898211.

To reach Walter, contact him at or 605-995-7191.

To reach me, call 701-361-1105 or email

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