Agricultural safety awareness week is held every march, however, the risk farmers face every day is great. One of those dangers is suicide. Suicide in the agricultural industry rates the highest amongst 30 other industries according to the CDC.
There are many causes to this, as suicide is a complex situation. One of the biggest factors though, is stress at extremely high amounts.
If we consider the amount of time a farmer spends outside, the long days, and nights sometimes, and the fact that they don't necessarily get to separate home-life from work-life, we can imagine the kind of constant pressure they are put under.
Financially, farmers have many stressors. They are constantly worried about market values of commodities, equipment failures, paying wages and saving for medical expenses to their own retirement, amongst many other expenses.
Weather is a huge stress as well. When there is a drought, or heavy rainfall at the wrong time of the season farmers have to worry about the problems that arise from those issues. Think about California agriculture, where issues with drought, and now water allocation have caused many to close down.
Another factor includes heavy regulations, which are also putting many farms out of commission. Families rely on the income from the business and now have to find jobs elsewhere to make ends meet. It's a harsh reality for some.
Farming is a high- risk career/lifestyle. A suffering industry because younger generations don't always want to take on those risks.
Fame safety awareness isn't just about equipment accidents, road safety for tractors, or all the hazards from chemicals and work place dangers, it is all the mental stability and emotional well-being of each farmer. They deserve our attention, our support and our willingness to advocate on their behalf to continue to improve their industry. Learn the signs of depression and be willing to listen. Don't just assume that they are stubborn and won't be open with you or accept your help.
We should be asking ourselves, "How can we change the suicide statistics and also make this career appeal to future generations?"