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NDSU Extension Service, Published June 14 2013

Tips for managing farm stress

FARGO – Some of the most pressing concerns faced by farmers and ranchers, such as weather-related issues, can elevate personal stress and disrupt sound decision-making.

“Producers and their families should think family first and keep current challenges in perspective,” says Sean Brotherson, North Dakota State University Extension Service family science specialist.

To assist individuals and families in farming or ranching to think through and make healthy personal and business decisions in times of stress, Brotherson has these suggestions:

• Identify key values important to the well-being of you and your family. The same holds true for the farm or ranch operation. Discuss these values and then develop goals that are specific and clear that will guide your family and business decision-making.

• Identify personal and interpersonal resources, such as creativity or communication, that cost little but can aid in your decision-making. Also, identify tangible, concrete resources such capital or equipment that are important in making decisions. Seek ways to access or create these resources.

• Evaluate the costs and benefits involved in making a particular decision to each member of the family or business operation. Then evaluate the costs and benefits to the couple or the family as a whole.

• Examine your decision-making style and then think about what decision-making process will work best for the family and the farm or ranch operation in a particular circumstance.