Friday, September 11, 2020

Farmers say pandemic has added to their stress; nonprofit newsroom's survey is still available for participation

Farmers face a host of stressors, including climate change (and the extreme weather it causes), the trade war with China, and more. Experts say the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated that stress, but The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting wanted to hear farmers' perspective. It sent out a survey and has received anonymous answers from five farmers so far. The respondents range in age from 35 to 67; four are white males and one is a Hispanic female; and they live in Illinois, Iowa, Missouri and South Carolina, Marissa Plescia reports.

A senior farmer from Champaign County, Illinois, said he feels more isolated and that the pandemic seems like a "perfect storm" for mental-health issues. He said he is practicing social distancing, and is frustrated that many, including legislators, seem to not be taking it seriously, Plescia reports. He said he's unsure how to talk about the pandemic with people who look to him as a role model:
"I miss hugging my loved ones, especially the little ones; they don't seem to understand why. I just had a conversation with a young person who looks to me as a mentor, and I couldn't give comforting or encouraging messages. I am also close to many immigrants and volunteer at an organization that serves immigrants; the fear in their eyes, especially the young children is so heartbreaking. I rely on my faith to get me through this, however, I always found comfort in attending church each weekend, (now) that one (refuge) is gone. I still need the contact with others. I need to see smiles and hear laughter, both of which are hard to find these days."
Click here to read more responses. Click here to fill out the survey.

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