Rural Realities

Rural Realities

Given the ongoing challenges facing the agriculture industry – low prices, uncertain markets, trade uncertainty, and inclement weather - it’s no surprise that farmers and farm families are experiencing more stress. “Rural Realities” focuses on helping farmers tap into their resilient nature by presenting advice from experts that can help reduce stress, improve a farm’s financial situation, implement good farm family communication skills, and more. ***The department is providing this podcast as a public service, but it is neither a legal interpretation nor a statement of department policy. Reference to any specific product or entity does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by the department. The views expressed by guests are their own and their appearance on the program does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent. Views and opinions expressed by department employees are those of the employees and do not necessarily reflect the view of the department or any of its officials. If you have any questions about this disclaimer, please contact our Department’s General Counsel.


May 23, 2023 38 mins

Spring can be a very stressful time for farmers and this year, the weather and markets have given us plenty to worry about. Monica McConkey, a rural mental health specialist, shares three simple tips to help you manage stress, and three things you can do to benefit your relationships on your family farm, with Farm Center’s Karen Endres. We need to be intentional about improving our emotional health and relationships and this conver...

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Growing up on a farm can be stressful, but it also helps develop resiliency. Listen to how growing up on a Wisconsin dairy farm, and having a life in agriculture, helped Sydni Mell and her family adapt after a farm accident. Sydni and Sam used the same mindset that they have used on the farm to keep their heads up, push forward, and make strides in Sydni’s recovery. Enjoy this inspiring conversation of tragedy, hope, and determinat...

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Navigating change can be stressful for farmers and their families. When we think about operating a successful farm business, planning is critical. Oftentimes, those plans include change. It may be as simple as a new job responsibility or as complex as a farm transition. Peggy Coffeen, Uplevel Dairy Podcast Host & Owner, discusses change with the Farm Center’s Karen Endres. They discuss preparing for change, how to respond to a ...

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February 16, 2023 27 mins

Difficult conversations can be stressful, especially for farmers working with their families. Dairy Farmer and Mental Health Advocate Randy Roecker discusses how he approaches communications on his generational dairy farm with the Farm Center’s Karen Endres. They touch on using positivity and gratitude, and having a community of people you can talk to when feeling stressed.  

Experiencing a challenge on the farm? Contact the Wiscons...

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Coping with stress through substance use is not uncommon. Nearly 50 percent of rural Americans and 74 percent of farmers have been directly impacted by opioid misuse, according to a 2017 survey by the National Farmers Union and the American Farm Bureau Federation. Dual Diagnosis Counselor Megan Wolf discusses the signs of addiction, recovery options, and that there is hope for people who struggle with substance use with Farm Center...

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October 14, 2022 26 mins

We all go through times when we feel down or blue. How do you know when you should ask for help?  Whether you are dairy farmer, livestock producer, or produce farmer, you and your family experience business challenges that can cause anxiety, stress, and depression. Licensed Clinical Social Worker Jessica Beauchamp discusses the signs and symptoms of depression and where to find information on depression with Farm Center’s Karen End...

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Farmers and their families constantly experience business challenges that can lead to additional stress, mental health issues, and even suicide. Sara Kohlbeck, a suicide prevention advocate, discusses why we are seeing a higher rate of suicide among farmers with the Farm Center’s Karen Endres. They look at the research Sara has been doing, why farmers are at a higher risk for suicide, and available trainings for Wisconsinites looki...

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"Let’s Talk Anxiety & Depression on the Farm” with Jes Beauchamp, Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Stress is something farmers typically face each day, but when it gets to be too much, it can lead to anxiety and depression. Jes Beauchamp, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, and Karen Endres from the Wisconsin Farm Center discuss anxiety and depression on the farm in this episode. They share signs and symptoms of anx...

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"Identify & Reset Unhealthy Default Settings” with Penn Vieau, Professional Speaker & Coach 

It is easy to overemphasize the negative and dismiss the positive things in our lives. Penn Vieau, professional speaker and coach, and Karen Endres from the Wisconsin Farm Center share how these unhealthy default settings can cause stress, fatigue, resentment, and get us off track. In this podcast, they share how and w...

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"Use a Positive Mindset & Gratitude to Handle Daily Farm Stress" with Penn Vieau, Professional Speaker & Coach 

You face many stressors owning and operating a farm business, and for many of you, a multigenerational farm business.  Penn Vieau, professional speaker and coach and Karen Endres from the Wisconsin Farm Center share how adopting a positive mindset with a focus on gratitude can help you better ha...

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"International Markets Provide Opportunities for Wisconsin Farmers and Agri-Businesses" with the International Agri-Business Center at the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection

Wisconsin exported nearly $3.37 billion in agricultural and food products to 145 countries in 2020. The International Agri-Business Center (IABC) staff, shares how they work with Wisconsin farmers and agri-busi...

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AgrAbility helps farmers with disabilities or limitations obtain assistive technology and support so they can continue to do their job safely and successfully. Amanda Harguth, Outreach Specialist at AgrAbility of Wisconsin, explains the wide variety of disabilities and limitations that farmers can face and resources available to help them continue farming in this podcast episode.

Experiencing a challenge on the farm? Contact the Wis...

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"Maintaining Farm Viability Through Volatile Times" by Kevin Bernhardt, UW-Platteville & UW-Extension

Navigating day-to-day operations on the farm can be extremely stressful and, even more so when farm viability needs to be evaluated and discussed. Kevin Bernhardt, Professor of Agribusiness at UW-Platteville and UW-Extension Farm Management Specialist, defines farm and economic viability, how it changes over ...

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"Healing After Farm Stress Turned to Tragedy" by Brenda Statz, farmer and mental health advocate

From fluctuating prices to long work hours, farmers experience an extensive amount of stress every day. It is key to reach out for help and support when that stress starts to impact mental or physical health. Brenda Statz, a farmer and mental health advocate, shares how she lost her husband to suicide, her journey as ...

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December 21, 2020 20 mins

"Farmers Facing the Future After 2020" by the Wisconsin Farm Center including Tracy Brandel, Frank Friar, Mike Lochner, Kevin Plante, Jack Ourada, Jeff Swenson and Norm Monsen.

From fluctuating prices to supply chain disruptions, 2020 has been a difficult year for farmers. The Wisconsin Farm Center team, comprised of eight individuals with collectively more than five decades of agriculture experience, provides a ...

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October 19, 2020 22 mins

"Navigating Marriage on the Farm" by Ted Matthews, Rural Mental Health Specialist

Unlike other occupations, farming often involves the entire family being actively engaged in the operation. As farming comes with daily challenges, it is easy to let stress and tension get in the way of a happy marriage. Ted Matthews, a rural mental health specialist in Minnesota, gives insight on how to overcome and prevent marital...

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September 21, 2020 31 mins

"Farm Children: They Experience Stress Too!" by Monica McConkey, Rural Mental Health Specialist

Farming generally comes with a significant amount of stress that can negatively impact everyone involved in the operation including youth of any age. Monica McConkey, a rural mental health specialist from Minnesota, discusses the signs and symptoms of stressed children on the farm and how parents can help struggling yo...

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August 17, 2020 26 mins

"Finding Fairness in Farm Transition" by Elaine Froese, Farm Transition Specialist

Farmers navigate tough conversations and situations every single day but talking about farm succession and transition is a once-in-a-lifetime event that can come with its own unique set of challenges. Elaine Froese, a farm transition specialist, shares tips and tricks on setting yourself up for success when transitioning the farm t...

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"Farm Financials: When to Reach Out for Help" by Paul Dietmann, Compeer Financial

In today’s ever-changing agricultural economic climate, navigating financials on the farm can be difficult and stressful. Paul Dietmann, a senior lending specialist with Compeer Financial, shares tools that can help you better evaluate your financial situation, key indicators of financial distress and where to reach out for help.

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July 13, 2020 45 mins

Discussing the "Undiscussabull" by Elaine Froese, Farm Transition Specialist 

Whether you need to discuss farm viability, succession to the next generation, future visions or just a simple operation change with your family, going into the conversation with healthy conversation tools and the right mind set is key. Elaine Froese, a farm transition specialist and lifelong farmer, shares insight on conflict resolutio...

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