Author: Michael Rosmann

One Word Sums Up American Farmers: Generosity

This past summer, two neighboring farmers knocked on the door of our farmhouse which Marilyn and I share.  “Would it be alright,” one of them asked, “if two elves showed up someday to turn your woodpile into firewood?” I didn’t know what to say and it took me a few seconds to respond, “Only if you keep what you need for yourselves.  It’s a huge pile,” I added, as I considered the ten-foot high pile of well-seasoned elm, oak, ash and mulberry logs that have accumulated over years of trimming trees and cleaning up after storm damage.    “We...

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Agricultural Disasters of all Types Require Coping With Stress

The current drought in about a third of America’s most productive agricultural regions, and too much rain in other areas, are sparking stress and concerns about the emotional wellbeing of producers, even though there are more forms of economic assistance to farmers and ranchers available through the USDA than previously.  Fortunately, many parts of the country that suffered from multi-year drought aren’t affected as much this growing season as in recent years. Drought, actually—all disasters, are hard to predict, and their effects on agricultural producers as well.  As last week’s article indicated, the available crop and livestock insurance protections...

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Better Options Exist to Improve Health Insurance for Farm and Rural Residents

Thus far, all the Congressional legislative proposals to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) worsened healthcare insurance for rural and farm residents, including the proposal that was defeated in the U.S. Senate on July 28th. The alternatives increased premiums and deductibles for persons in the 50-65 year age group; they decreased coverage for preexisting and chronic conditions such as cancer. There are parts of the ACA that most people like (e.g., affordable coverage for preexisting and chronic health conditions, allowing children on their parents’ insurance plans until age 26, parity for physical and behavioral healthcare, expanded Medicaid...

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How Government and Industry Can Help Prevent Farmer Suicide [PART 4]

A well-known tongue-in-cheek cliché says: We’re from the government and we’re here to help.  Federal, state and local governments certainly have obligations to prevent farmer suicide, for suicide contributes to more fatalities among farmers than physical health hazards.  Furthermore, entities dependent on farmers share this responsibility. Most everyone pays taxes to enable governments at all levels to carry out essential functions; protection of agricultural producers is one of the expectations of governments. Farmers are the most important resource in the production of food and materials, yet, most governments spend far less on behavioral health than on other physical health...

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Individual and Family Actions to Deal With Possible Farmer Suicide [PART 3]

There is a more common and mostly preventable cause of death among agricultural producers that isn’t occupational injuries or physical illnesses.  It is suicide, and it should be understood and handled better than it usually is currently. This is the third article in a four-part “Farm and Ranch Life” series about suicide among farmers, ranchers and agricultural workers. A farmer who purposefully ended his life recently gave many warning signs but also demanded that his family not undertake legal proceedings to obtain professional behavioral healthcare assistance or to ask for help from his family, neighbors, and any farm crises...

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