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Ohio Department of Agriculture creates #gotyourback campaign to address mental health among farmers

Posted: 10:13 AM, Sep 03, 2019
Updated: 2019-09-03 10:13:10-04
Bret Davis

COLUMBUS — In light of growing concerns about the suicide rate among farmers, the Ohio Department of Agriculture is creating a campaign to address farmers’ mental health.

The campaign, #gotyourback, will offer resources to farmers through a collaborative effort with other farm associations in Ohio.

In a news release, the department of agriculture said studies show the suicide rate among farmers is more than twice that of the general population.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture says many factors in farming are out of a farmer’s control, which can be stressful. Such factors include wondering if the weather will cooperate and long hours working alone, all which can affect a farmer’s mental well-being.

Just last month, The Ohio State University created a task force to help farmers cope with the stress they're facing through a new program called The Rural and Farm Stress Task Force.

The task force is encouraging farmers to visit county extension offices where specialists can provide ideas on how to keep farms running or find jobs away from the farm.

Ohio Farm Bureau President Frank Burkett, who also helps run Clardale Farms in Canal Fulton, said the struggle is real.

"We had a tough spring in 2018. I think there were some who thought it couldn't get any worse than this. Well, welcome 2019 spring," Burkett said. "This year has been a challenging year. It has been a challenging year for agriculture, but it's certainly been a challenging year on the farm here as well."

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