These are stressful times for farmers

By

Opinion

October 16, 2019 - 10:34 AM

Porterville farmer John Corkins checks on his grapefruit orchard which is drip irrigated with about 60 percent coming from groundwater, on Sept. 17. (Craig Kohlruss/Sacramento Bee/TNS)

We owe much to our farm families, particularly for dedicating their lives to ensuring we have access to safe, secure, affordable and nutritious food, while at the same time protecting the environment and our precious natural resources.

But producing the harvest we enjoy is extremely challenging. Roadblocks that farmers face in order to get their products from the field to the consumer are often out of their control, including extreme and unpredictable weather conditions, trade barriers that limit or eliminate foreign markets, cost of inputs measured against return on investment, lack of farm labor due to government policies, rapidly changing consumer demands and the need for an off-farm job for supplemental income and health insurance.

These external pressures, coupled with geographical and social isolation, and lack of health insurance coverage and diminished access to mental health care professionals give way to increased financial, legal, mental and physical stress. Chronic psychological stress, if not properly treated, can lead to increased anxiety, depression, substance abuse and suicide.

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