Coffee, Conversation and Community Support for farmers event set for Saturday
Farmers and their significant others are invited to visit over coffee at events in Crookston and East Grand Forks on Saturday.
The Saturday, Dec. 14, Coffee, Conversation and Community Support events will be held from 9 to 11 a.m. at Brekken Farms near Crookston and from 2 to 4 p.m. and at Adams Family Farm near East Grand Forks.
Northwestern Mental Health, Adams Family Farms, Brenda Mack Consulting, H.O.P.E. Coalition, Brekken Family Farms and CHS are hosting the event in which farmers can get together and give one another support, said Michelle Adolphsen, of Northwestern Mental Health.
One of the challenges unique to farming is that so many things, such as weather, commodity prices, federal and state policies that affect agriculture are out of farmers' control, said Brenda Mack, a clinical social worker who is married to a Crookston farmer.
However, there are some things, including making changes to their crop rotations and maintaining a positive attitude, over which they do have control, she said. Focusing on the things they can control, along with positive self-talk and reaching out to family, friends and neighbors about the situation in which they’re in are ways to reduce stress, Mack said.
“The big message is you’re not out there alone,” she said.
For many northwest Minnesota farmers, the 2019 harvest has been one of the most challenging in many years, and, as a result, farmers are under more stress than usual.
It’s important that they acknowledge when they are stressed or feeling hopeless, and the Coffee, Conversation and Community Support events are a way they can share those feelings with other farmers or with the mental health experts who are there, event organizers said.
“We thought it was important to bring people together for that fellowship, talk to other farmers and see what they’re doing,” Adolphsen said.
There will not be any formal presentation by the mental health professionals who are at the Coffee, Conversation and Community Support events, but there will be information available about how farmers can seek help, and mental health professionals will be there to visit with farmers.
Getting off of the farm and talking with other farmers is important because isolation will worsen stress, Mack said. Some of the farmers at the Saturday event may want to share their stories. Meanwhile, others who have discovered coping mechanisms that work for them can share those with the farmers who are struggling, she said.
“We know that connections fuel resiliency,” she said.