When we hear about farm safety we hear about giving room to farm equipment on our roads, using equipment properly and keeping fire extinguishers on hand. At a recent farm safety workshop at Lazy Creek Farm in Madison, a different concept of farm safety was discussed: a positive mindset.
The workshop, co-sponsored by the Orange County USDA Farm Service Agency and Madison County Cooperative Extension Office, also included tips for safely storing fertilizer, background checks on farm employees and active shooter tips.
Madison County Sheriff Erik Weaver warned that there are those stealing to get drugs.
“We see it every day. If you see something, say something. Call about trespassers and be on your guard all the time,” Weaver said.
Jeremy L. Daubert with the Rockingham County Cooperative Extension Office told participants that keeping a healthy mindset is important for farm safety.
“Agriculture is a stressful occupation,” Daubert said. “Our bodies are not designed to be stressed 24/7. Chronic stress can cause physical and mental illness.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control, agricultural work is one of the most hazardous industries. Other stressors farmers experience include financial pressures— from interest rates to large debt loads—regulations, weather, livestock illness and working with family members.
Daubert said signs of stress include headaches, stomachaches, backaches, high blood pressure, nausea, racing heartbeats and high blood sugar.
He warned of coping strategies often employed to deal with stress that aren’t good, such as overeating, drinking alcohol or smoking.
Daubert recommended the use of positive self-talk as a healthier coping strategy.
“Try choosing three words to tell yourself to maintain the mindset you want, such as calm, capable, controlled,” he suggested. “Try to be intentional about it. Tell yourself that you can overcome any challenge, you can adapt to it and that you’ve been through rough times before and can do it again.”
Other positive coping strategies include using deep breathing to calm the mind and help focus and using acceptance.
“When things are beyond your control the most productive step you can take is to accept it,” he said. “Not all problems can be solved. Not all situations can be changed.”
For more information about managing farm stress, visit msue.msu.edu. For those in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255 or text GO to 741741.