For too many in farming, mental health remains an off-limits topic — one that suggests weakness. Yet farmers face some of the highest levels of stress in any occupation. Add to that a long list of complicating factors: topsy-turvy markets, uncontrollable weather, equipment breakdowns and physical injury, to name a few.
That’s why University of Minnesota Extension’s cattle podcast, “The Moos Room,” is devoting four episodes in May to getting real about mental health on the farm. May’s episodes coincide with National Mental Health Awareness Month. Access The Moos Room and all other Extension podcasts from the Extension website.
“We have an exciting lineup of guests who will bring both real-life experience and research to ‘The Moos Room,’” said Extension educator and co-host Emily Krekelberg.
- Meagan King, assistant professor of animal physiology and welfare at the University of Manitoba. King’s research has found dairy cattle productivity is linked to farmer mental health.
- Meg Moynihan, Minnesota Department of Agriculture. A Minnesota farmer and longtime ag advocate, Moynihan’s role at MDA includes outreach on farmer mental health.
- Kevin Dietzel, an Iowa cattle farmer who has written and tweeted candidly about his journey in mental wellness.
- Jason Medows, a Missouri pharmacist and rancher, whose podcast, Ag State of Mind, focuses on challenges in farming and how they relate to mental wellness.
“The range of experiences these guests will bring to ‘The Moos Room’ sheds a lot of light on the unique conditions that exist in farming as it relates to mental health and wellness,” said Dr. Joe Armstrong, Extension veterinarian and co-host.
“The Moos Room” began in 2020 and, as of May 2021, has recorded nearly 70 episodes on topics related to raising cattle. Armstrong and Krekelberg are joined by co-host Brad Heins, Extension specialist and assistant professor of organic dairy management at University of Minnesota Morris.