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Checking in on your neighbors

Two women in cow pen talking.

Adhering to stay-at-home orders, navigating distancing recommendations, and trying to keep the farm up and running is putting a lot of pressure on our neighbors in ag country. They may feel stressed, overwhelmed and alone. 

Stay physically distant but socially close

Even though we may not be able to see each other face-to-face, staying connected to our social networks is important. The following are some ways you can check on your neighbors now and during times of high stress. 

  • Drop off food on their front step with a note saying how much you appreciate them.
  • Call them up and ask how they are doing.
  • Create a check-in system with your neighbors to signal if something is wrong, such as turning on the barn light or hanging a red towel in the window. 
  • Organize a virtual meet-up: play games, eat dinner, catch up.
  • Offer to help by doing a grocery and supply run for them.
  • Celebrate special days with drive-by parades.
  • Send them a letter.
  • Share a message of support from your home by hanging up a sign or flag.

As we navigate times of high stress, remember that everyone’s threshold for stress is different. Respect that, although we are all going through the same set of circumstances, we all experience it in a different way. 

Be patient, be kind, and be helpful. As always, don’t forget to take care of yourself.

Visit the Coping with rural stress page for more resources for farmers.


Emily Krekelberg, Extension educator, director of the rural stress task force

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