Farm Bureau through a Glance - May 22

On behalf of the Carroll County Farm Bureau I would like to congratulate all graduates be it college, high school, 8th grade or even preschool. The time has come to move on to the next chapter of your life. As I sat at baccalaureate the other night and listened to Pastor Jerod mention how what is in store for you as graduates has not been written yet, it made me think back over the last 25 years. Yes, I graduated high school 25 years ago. While high school seems forever ago, it still doesn’t seem that long ago.

My next chapter I thought I had been written out, in fact, as each year comes and goes, I think I know what that year holds, it shows you can’t plan your future as each year takes its own turn. Regardless of what the next chapter holds, there are things that can be kept consistent. One, your work ethic. A work ethic is one thing that will help you get where you want to go. There is always room for it. Put down your phone and put your nose to the grindstone.

Be flexible. Life is not going to go where you think it will go. It will lead you to where you are meant to be. I have said it once, I will say it again, I did not see myself being a Farm Bureau manager. I didn’t see myself being an alumni of Highland Community College. I also didn’t expect to live in Lanark. This is where life chose to take me. While it wasn’t where I saw myself, it was where I needed to be.

Where the next year will take me or the next chapter is yet to be determined, just like where the next chapter of your life is yet to be written.

The stress of farm economics and markets has led to some desperate situations in places Agriculture is one of the most dangerous industries, and farmers suffer fatal injuries at rates of 21.4 per 100,000 workers according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The list of potentially hazardous situations is as abundant as the fall harvest, so agriculture communities utilize safety awareness tools to promote grain bin safety, electrical safety, equipment and transportation safety, livestock safety, and chemical safety, among others, in hopes of providing education to prevent catastrophes.

But strikingly, the number one killer of our beloved farmers isn’t equipment malfunctions or grain bins or tractor rollovers; it’s suicide. The stress of farm economics and markets has led to some desperate situations in places not too far from our county.

According to the CDC, suicide deaths among farmers occur more than twice as often as fatal injuries. In their most recent study analyzing suicide deaths, farmers and farmworkers died by suicide at combined rates of a staggering 49.5 deaths per 100,000, making farming one of the leading occupations of suicide deaths.

May is “Mental Health Awareness” month, and a most appropriate time to introduce this new article series to promote agricultural wellness, including topics such as suicide prevention, basic stress management, mental/behavioral health, and much more. Just like promoting safety awareness prevents farm fatalities, raising awareness about wellness promotes mental safety, and can prevent farmer suicides.

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