Harvest is already taking place in many locations, or is not happening because drought left little to harvest.
The U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Disaster Technical Assistance Center (DTAC) August 2012 Bulletin listed four articles about coping with drought-related stress. Interested persons can subscribe to the SAMHSA DTAC Bulletin at their website www.samhsa.gov/dtac/resources.asp"http://www.samhsa.gov/dtac/resources.asp.
I commend the SAMHSA DTAC for their timely listing of resources for dealing with drought-related stress, as I drew upon these publications for this article.
Two of the four resources were authored by Dr. Bob Fetsch of the Colorado State University Extension Service. Bob and I have known each other for many years and have worked together on several projects.
Besides having similar professional interests, Bob and I both have Germanic and farming backgrounds—his at Muenster, Texas and mine near the western Iowa community of Westphalia. Our two communities share some of the same family names, extended kin and traditions.
The founders of Westphalia, Iowa, Emil and Carl Flusche, also founded Muenster and the towns of Westphalia, Kansas, Michigan and Missouri, plus four more towns in North Texas.
Here are tips from Managing Stress during Tough Times by Dr. Fetsch, which is available at www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/consumer/10255.html/10255.pdf
Dr. Fetsch offers additional tips in Making Decisions and Coping Well with Drought, which is available at www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/consumer/10256.html.
It is important to stay up-to-date with federal and state pronouncements concerning the drought. Disaster declarations and provisions sometimes change on a daily basis. Usually these announcements are available in letters and publications from the federal Farm Service Agency (FSA) office for the county where the farm/ranch resides. Farm news broadcasts are a good source of information.
In some particularly hard-hit locales, community education and support programs may be initiated through the Extension Service, churches, and sometimes through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) when a disaster rises to the level that individual assistance, including crisis counseling, becomes available.
Disasters that rise to the level that FEMA assistance becomes available usually entail fires or other causes that seriously damage people’s lives and property. FEMA assistance does not accompany public assistance declarations, such as might be needed to repair public roads, power lines and infrastructure.
Crisis counseling only accompanies declarations that provide individual assistance. Radio, television, newspaper reports and local Extension offices are a good source of current information about drought counseling and other forms of individual assistance.
Two previous columns are relevant to drought issues: Weathering farm and ranch disasters, which was released for publication on July 2, 2012, and Droughts take toll on our hopes, which was released for publication on July 9, 2012. The newspaper where you read this column might have them on its website.
It’s easy to be self-critical, especially over decisions made earlier to sell crops ahead, when now the price has increased or the producer doesn’t have the grain to fulfill a contract. Talking now about the situation with family and those involved in the contract is a better coping strategy than putting it off.
Dr. Rosmann is a psychologist and farmer. He can be contacted through the website www.agbehavioralhealth.com.
– By Mike Rosmann, Ph.D.