The myths we perpetuate in the world of agriculture come from a place of good intentions, but often lead to actions that can be damaging for our mental health. In this blog post we would like to tackle some of the myths that are prevalent in agriculture. 

The farm comes first

The love and pride we have for our farms is easy to see. We know that planting and harvest require long hours, waiting on the right weather, and hoping that all the equipment works when we need it to. Livestock require feeding and constant care. What we must remember is while the farm requires attention, so do we. Making time to care for ourselves and our relationships is critical to the success of the farm. Going to a child’s sports game, having a date night with a partner, or taking a nap aren’t signs of neglecting the farm. Putting ourselves first is the best way to ensure that the farm can thrive. 

Real farmers don’t take days off

There are some farmers who take it as a point of pride that they never leave the farm. Sometimes the “it must be nice” comments come out when we see another farmer going on a family holiday. In what other career would we expect people to work without breaks? We would be concerned if our doctor never took a day off because we would assume they could not effectively do their job. Agriculture should be no different. We work in high stress environments and depleting our resources, be they physical or mental, does not improve our performance. 

Bigger is better

The myth that bigger farms are better farms does us all a disservice. No matter the size or appearance, each farm is unique. What works for one farm in terms of acreage, livestock numbers, debt load, business structure, outputs, and people supported by the enterprise is completely different from another. The amazing thing about the agriculture industry is that we each get to run our farms in ways that work for us. 

Tradition is the most important thing, AKA, “That’s the way we’ve always done it”

We saw a quote the other day that read “Tradition is just peer pressure from dead people.” Doing something because that’s how the previous generations did it doesn’t serve us or them. Valuing tradition doesn’t mean never making changes. We can admire the work of our ancestors while simultaneously honouring our own decisions and the choices of our children, should they choose to farm. We believe that our predecessors would want us to be successful and healthy. 

Arlene Hunter is a dairy farmer and mother of 4 from Ontario and Caite Palmer is a beef and sheep farmer and mother of 2 in Iowa. They can be found on Instagram @barnyardlanguage. Together they host the Barnyard Language Podcast which they describe as “honest talk about running farms and raising families.”

The NFMHA is grateful to present at the 31st Annual Rural and Remote Medicine Conference. 🌱Society of Rural Physicians #srpc2024 #ruralmedicine #ruralwellness #farmermentalhealth #farmerwellness #aginformedtherapy #AgMentalHealth #agletstalk🥬 #agmorethanever #farmersofinstagram ... See MoreSee Less
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