Mental health issues amongst the farming community are being talked about more and more and the Eastern Manitoba Holstein Club are trying to help out their farm friends and families.
The club held its 36th annual Dairy Seminar on Wednesday and Thursday in Friedensfeld. The two guest speakers for the event were Gerry Friesen of Backswath Management and Dr. Larry Tranel of Iowa State University who both spoke about farm family communication and how to deal with stress on the farm.
Event Coordinator Carol Boonstoppel says these were good messages to hear with this past year being one of uncertainty.
"Dairy farming is very stressful, I mean we do long hours and stuff, but especially last year with the new trade talks with the US, the future didn’t look quite so great so when you’re trying to forecast for the future, it becomes a little more stressful," notes Boonstoppel.
"So with those stresses, it does play on farmers minds and for the longest time it’s always been work harder and shut up and keep working harder."
She adds things are changing. Boonstoppel says now people are encouraged to speak out and get help which is a big positive for the life of the industry.
Dr. Larry Tranel, a Dairy Specialist and Psychologist at Iowa State, says a big part of his discussion with the group was finding each other's strengths and figuring out how to work with all the different personalities you may have in your family.
"Trying to take a look at a lot of areas of disagreement because farm families are a bit of a different breed in a sense because you’re working long hours, you’re always dealing with the environment and not everything always goes well on the farm and we’re kind of stressed with margins on time and things like that," explains Dr. Tranel. "So there’s a lot of disagreement that comes onto these farms and so communication strategies are pretty important."