Prompted by the many sources of stress affecting farmers and ranchers, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA), Linder Farm Network and the Red River Farm Network (RRFN) have joined forces to expand a radio series called “TransFARMation” throughout the state. The series profiles people in agriculture who have coped with challenging situations and highlights sources of support.
“Farming is a stressful business even during the best of times” said Linder Farm Network owner Lynn Ketelsen. “Right now, crop prices are surging, and the pandemic is waning, but many producers are experiencing high input prices, high feed costs, livestock disease and challenges related to retirement and farm succession.”
The series was a big hit with listeners when it debuted on RRFN in 2019. Starting the week of April 18, 60-second prime time radio stories will be heard on all 40 Linder Farm Network stations in central and southern Minnesota, as well as RRFN’s 21 stations further north. In addition, 10-15-minute companion podcasts can be found on both and Linder’s and RRFN’s websites.
“Many people are struggling, and they need to know they’re not alone,” MDA Commissioner Thom Petersen. “It’s powerful to hear farmers talk about some of the strategies and solutions that helped them when things got tough.”
The Minnesota Soybean Growers Association has been a strong supporter of raising awareness around rural mental health in both the media and while advocating with legislators. The first TransFARMation podcast featured MSGA Director Theresia Gillie, who shared her story about her life journey after her husband, Keith, took his own life in April 2017.
“Watch out for your neighbors. Look for anything not normal. If they’re struggling, help them out,” Gillie said.
TransFARMation is supported by funding from Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Program award no. 2021-70035-35461 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, the MDA, and a growing list of sponsors. For underwriting opportunities, call Jeff Stewart at 507-456-6970 or Don Wick at 701-795-1315.
“In nearly 40 years of work in broadcasting, I don’t think I’ve ever gotten such a phenomenal response from a project,” Wick says. “We’re proud of the resource we’re providing and look forward to continuing to share the stories of farmers and ranchers and offering a message of hope.”
Broadcasts are solely the responsibility of the creators and do not necessarily represent the official views of the USDA or MDA.
If you or someone you know is struggling with stress, anxiety, depression, or other problems, the free and confidential Minnesota Farm & Rural Helpline is available 24 hours, seven days a week at 833-600-2670 or text farmstress to 898211.