Farmers possess an incredible range of skills. Whether it’s re­­pairing a broken piece of eq­uipment, treating a sick calf or setting up GPS systems that connect tractors to satellite signals, farmers possess a range of talents most of us can only dream about.

But the COVID-19 crisis, com­bined with several years of tight or negative margins, has dealt a gut punch to agriculture that is going to test every farmer, no matter how skilled. The inability to fix things can be very tough, especially for people used to making things right, according to Larry Tranel, an Iowa State University dairy specialist and pastoral psychologist. It can lead to anxiety, doubt, depression and even hopelessness.

In a timely and valuable three-part podcast from the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF), Tranel discusses the tough financial and emotional issues facing farmers today. He outlines key emotional issues facing many farm families to­day: identifying and managing unhealthy stress, finding ways to make good business decisions during an unprecedented crisis and strategies to work at a family to manage stress.

“Building resiliency is a learn­ed skill, and it’s something we can try to work with,” Tranel says early on in his interview with IFBF’s Caitlyn Lamm. In other words, it’s a way to add some new, and much-needed, skills during this tough time. 

All three of the episodes can be found at or on your favorite podcast app.