For those who haven’t farmed or grew up on a farm, it’s hard to explain the impact of farm stress on an individual and family.

There are a thousand things to worry about: uncertainty of weather and markets, input costs, yields, livestock, operating loans, etc. Most of those factors are beyond a farmer’s or rancher’s control and are amplified in bad economic times.

Believe it or not, it’s often hard to identify the level of stress that exists in our own family members or neighbors. Please keep reaching out to one another. Talk, listen, and don’t be afraid to seek professional help, if needed (below).

Stress can be very debilitating, both physically and mentally. It’s important that farm families seek and have access to mental health services.

I want you to know that your Farmers Union family is here for you. We’re working on several initiatives to help ease the farm crisis and bring greater profitability to farming and ranching – the priority being a new farm bill.

We have a legislative fight looming in that regard. The White House recently released a proposed fiscal year budget for 2019 that will severely cut programs rural America relies on, including $48.6 billion from farm programs.

It’s important that we pass a farm bill as soon as possible. Farmers Union members will be working hard to do so and by the time this column goes to print, a group of members will have returned from lobbying in Washington, D.C. Congress needs to pass a farm bill soon, one that supports family farm agriculture.

– NDFU President Mark Watne