Welcome to my new blog, Thriving on the Farm! We all know farming is important and rewarding, but also demanding and stressful. Too much stress can be toxic—it can raise your blood pressure, give you headaches, make you anxious and depressed, get in the way of being a good parent, spouse, or friend, and cloud your thinking so you don’t make good decisions about managing your farm.

Anna Scheyett at the Sunbelt Ag Expo

In this blog I will be focusing on ways you can handle stress. You may be thinking “I can’t control stress—I can’t control markets and the economy and the weather” and of course you can’t. But you can control how you react to these things and how you keep yourself as healthy and strong as possible during tough times. Just like you can’t stop a storm from coming, but you can do things to protect your animals, your buildings, and your family—you can’t stop stressful things from happening, but you can protect your body and your mind so the stress doesn’t make you sick or ruin your relationships.

In Thriving on the Farm I’ll provide pragmatic, simple, non-time-consuming steps you can take to manage stress and thrive.

Why this is important to me

There’s an old saying that “No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.” So, I’d like to tell you a little bit about who I am and why I care about farmers, farm families, and their well-being.

My grandfather Sylvestre in Puerto Rico

Farming is a part of my past, and of my present. My grandfather (pictured right) grew coffee in Puerto Rico for many years. Eventually he had to sell the farm, but he always loved the land and instilled that love in me.

My husband’s people came from south Alabama, where they farmed peanuts for several generations. His grandfather was nearly as stubborn as the mules he’s pictured with (below), but also gave up farming after a while–though he always kept chickens and a huge vegetable plot.

My grandfather-in-law BJ in Alabama
My daughter Amanda in Arkansas

The passion for farming continues in my family, through my younger daughter. She majored in horticulture in school and is currently a graduate student researching small fruit production. She helps keep me grounded as I think about farmers and how to support them.

My own area of work in Extension has been dedicated to farmer and farm family well-being. I know that anyone who eats food or wears fiber should thank a farmer daily—and I do. This blog is one small contribution as a way to say thank you for all you do.

I really look forward to connecting with you through this blog, and I hope you’ll send me questions and ideas for postings. Take care!

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