Welcome to this 3-part Spokesman Speaks podcast series on managing farm stress in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, featuring Dr. Larry Tranel (a pastoral psychologist who has spent more than 30 years working with farm families).

Part 1: Identifying unhealthy stress and how to manage it (released May 8)


Click here to view the transcript +
Narrator: Welcome to the Spokesman Speaks a podcast from Iowa's leading agricultural news source brought to you by the Iowa Farm Bureau. Now here's your host.

Caitlyn Lamm: Welcome to this special episode of the Spokesman Speaks Podcast. I'm Caitlyn Lamm and we appreciate you tuning in. Today, we're kicking off a three part series on managing farm stress featuring expert advice from Dr. Larry Tranel. Larry is a pastoral psychologist and a dairy specialist with Iowa State Extension who spent 30 plus years working in agriculture with farm families. In addition to that, Larry's son is also a dairy farmer, so you can see why we wanted to call on Larry for stress insights and tactics that are especially relevant to farmers in the midst of this COVID-19 crisis. This first episode is about ways to identify unhealthy stress and how to manage it during part two which will be released on May 13th we're going to focus on how farmers can continue to make effective business decisions and communicate in the face of the enormous amount of stress that they're facing and a part three which we're releasing. On May 18th we will be discussing how to manage stress and family life. So be sure to subscribe to the Spokesman Speaks Podcast in your favorite podcast app to catch parts two and three of the series. Alright, let's get started with part one. As Dr. Larry Tranel discusses ways for each of us to identify unhealthy stress in our lives and how to manage it. Okay, well Larry, I think no matter where you are in the world today and whatever situation you're in, you may be carrying more stress than usual. Whether your employment status is uncertain or perhaps you're working from home with your kids and they have their own individual needs. And we definitely know farmers here in Iowa are facing incredible amounts of stress with low commodity prices, lack of markets, packing plant closures, creating situations that are just heartbreaking. And so I know that you're a man of faith and so I'm in good company when I say, you know, the farmers we both serve, continue to be in our prayers. But you know, we've come to this point where I've heard you say in the past that some stress is healthy, right? And it makes us realize maybe something needs to change. It moves us towards action, but at what level does stress become unhealthy and what may be some signs we or others are under too much stress?

Dr. Larry Tranel: I appreciate the question. So I think when you take a look at the stress undoubtedly is normal and it's healthy and it does cause us, like you said, to do things, but when we get too much, whether it be acute stress, which is stress that happens just because something unplanned happens to us just real dramatically in a short time period that we weren't prepared for or we get this chronic stress that's been going on. And in the dairy industry and in parts of agriculture, we've had some pretty dire stress for five or six years. And then we get hit with the COVID-19 stress on of that. So it's actually kind of moved into a lot of grief stages for quite a few people and so grief is just kind of like the worst part of stress was just too much and we start losing something. So then when we take a look at the stress, you know, the signs that you look for is that when people have a hard time concentrating and remembering or trying to process information or difficulty trying to organize their thoughts to calculate different types of things or just go on about decisions and they just can't make decisions is because there's so many things going on where they can focus on it. Where more physical, they can sleep or just relax or breathe properly. And I guess as it starts getting to family relationships, they have difficulty sometimes communicating, just sharing and bonding as a family. And we realize that a lot of stress can be a source of conflict, but it can also help families grow and become closer because they've had gone through a tough time together. But as we look at too much stress that can lead to an anxiety doubt, depression, hopelessness, which is the worst one. I think when people lose hope, then other things start occurring to work, to work with them. But when we look at the chronic farm stress, we just realize it can really dampen a person's, our spirit, their appetite, their physical stamina. Again, they're focus, the relationships as we talked about and the bottom line is that decision making ability can dampen their happiness and their satisfaction. And so part of it is just it's learning to deal with stress and building resiliency is actually kind of it's a learned skill and so it's stuff that we can definitely try to work with.

Caitlyn Lamm: And I think you're right. I think we are seeing a lot of those signs of grief definitely not knowing what to do. I don't think I've heard the word unprecedented more than I have in the past couple months. And it seems like every day something is changing and opening or closing a new precautionary guideline, a shift in the market when it seems like it couldn't go lower. And so right now it's kind of hard to predict what will come next. And that's really hard and I think some may be feeling in this moment that there's no light at the end of this tunnel. So how can we handle those really overwhelming feelings to be able to tackle long term difficulties while also knowing that we have difficulties in the short run that we have to address?

Dr. Larry Tranel: Yeah, I think as we take a look at our agriculture producers, I think they're some of the most hopeful, resourceful and resilient people we know. And if we ever wanted a true survivor series on TV, I think they could use the dairy environment or sometimes the farming environment as their contestants because there are definitely some very resilient time people. And as you mentioned, the word unprecedented. I mean, there's a lot of ambiguous confusion with all that's happening and the, the answers are actually quite limiting still to this day. And we realized that it could have a long tail on it. So, when we take a look at you farmers trying to see if there's light at the end of the tunnel, the biggest thing is that we need to, that yeah, we're going to be as survivors. No matter what happens, there's going to be a new reality in the end and we're going to survive this thing. You might not be the same reality we have today, but it's going to be a new one. The aim of when we start taking a look at what we call it actually disaster preparedness because that's what we're actually putting ourselves through right now because we're going to try to prepare ourselves to overcome this disaster. So the aim is for us not to alarm, but try to try to help prepare people. And sometimes that preparation has this tough conversation. So when we take a look at our mindsets and how we try to cope with it I'm just going to give a little statistic from the national suicide prevention hotline that says "roughly 40% of people may experience emotional distress six months to a year after some kind of disaster happens and will need some ongoing support services." So even though those issues get better in six months to a year, the emotional and economic tale I think in this one's going to be quite long. And I just listened to some dairy market news that really thinks this tail on this thing is going to be even maybe even longer than six months to a year. So bottom line is, how do you take care of yourself? If you are concerned about a neighbor or family member, please talk to them. So don't be afraid, even question directly, something to the effect, "Well you seem pretty upset about all this, are you actually considering suicide?" So, I realize that sounds pretty direct for some people, but research actually shows we need to be direct with that. There's a lot of myths out there thinking that simply asking somebody about suicide encourages it or that most suicidal people keep their plans to themselves or those that talk about it don't do it. And that once somebody decides to attempt suicide, there's nothing that can be done to stop it. So, we realize that suicide is the most preventable kind of death and its intent is often communicated like a week beforehand. So, I think it's time because we take a look at a suicide has actually become a part of the conversation in agriculture, especially in the dairy industry at this point, but it's affecting a lot of other enterprises as well. So, how do we look for those clues of abnormal sleep, emotional outburst, comments about ending this misery or some unusual behavior? And sometimes it's a very unusual be a positive behavior, not just a negative one, or we might have the observed hopelessness and actions actually of preparation. So in 2018 over 418 people a night of suicide just in the state of Iowa and due to the COVID-19 the numbers expected to rise. So again, I think it's important for all of us to be on the lookout. We realize that fall and spring is the most common time for suicides as planning and harvesting are very stressful times and they're often coupled with top financial situations as well. So, farmers might feel like they're tired and they can't go on or that maybe my family is better off without me or I just want out, who cares about me anyway? Nobody's going to have to worry about me anymore. So when we take a at people that have had these thought processes and some of these times, these thoughts are actually normal in stressful times for a lot of people, but just like we do CPR for people that we need to work with their health when we also have this training called QPR, which means the Q stands for question, the P stands for persuade and the R stands for refer. So the question part again and just like I did in the beginning, is do not be afraid to be quite direct about asking them are you considering this? And the persuading is to take a look at different types of things that we can do to try to persuade them. Because again, we realize that suicide is actually very preventable. And then the referrals is actually can I call somebody for you? And that's why I like to give people the national suicide hotline number and I'm going to give that here: (800) 273-8255. So the national suicide prevention lifeline has somebody there 24 hours a day. So if you don't know where to turn to, you can always turn to that phone number. We also realized that suicide is not easy to talk about, which makes it even more dangerous. So disasters, whether it be COVID-19 on top of an already stressed dairy industry and agricultural industry, that can create a lot of grief, depression and actually emotional instability. And these are all things that can lead to suicide. So bottom line for producers is be safe before something, be there just because, believe and be alive.

Caitlyn Lamm: I really appreciate you bringing that up Larry because I know, you know, and I've heard the same thing like, Oh, we shouldn't talk about it. You know, maybe people will think more about it if we're mentioning it. So it's good to hear that sometimes actually being upfront about it and using those tactics can help save someone's life. And I think although it's uncomfortable we know that it's out there. It's something we can't ignore and we have to take care of each other and we have to watch out for each other. And so, I guess another big question then would be, before we even get to that stage where we're having those types of thoughts, how can we manage that stress in our lives? What types of exercises or tools can help us come back to the present and be able to find clarity to tackle today and what's coming next?

Dr. Larry Tranel: After we kind of assess our own stress symptoms, I guess I would say that I tend to use what I call mindset tactics and one of those that I use is actually called BEE SET. So BEE SET. And so how do we kind of take the sting out of stress? So when symptoms arise, I try to use this. So the B stands for breathe. It's amazing how many people just when you get under stress, it's more difficult to breathe. And a lot of people just like an animal that's under heat stress will take a lot of short, shallow breaths versus long deep drawn out breaths that actually come out of the stomach. And so if a person just lays down on a bed and just tries to do that deep breathing, trying to breathe in as long as they can and breathe back out as long as they can. And just try to increase that just a little bit because people can actually breathe in farther and out deeper than they ever thought they could. And over a course of three, five, seven minutes, if one really focuses on the breathing, they can really relax themselves actually quite well. So it helps us to kind of get more oxygen to the brain, helps us think better and a lot of things like that as well. This, the first E stands for exercise. And even though as farmers, we always think that we get enough exercise when we start taking a look at research that shows that even seven minutes a day of some kind of a heart throbbing, heart pumping exercise can really increase our serotonin levels and just make us feel better. So I think even though we walked around the farm or working around all day, just it's that heartthrob being exercised is sometimes lacking and only takes seven minutes a day. So when we take a look at the second E is the eat better. So we live in a society that is very high on sugars and very horribly high on carbohydrates, which causes a lot of the overweight problems that we have in our society. And then so how do we try to limit those sugars and limit those, what I call junk carbs? And when people take a look at just the whole thought process of eating better. So again, mindset tactics. A couple that I use as a moment on my lips forever on my hips. Do I really need that extra a brownie or something that's loaded with sugar or these high carbs or junk foods with potato chips and things like that?

Caitlyn Lamm: I need to remember that one.

Dr. Larry Tranel: We all do. So the second one that I tend to use as well, I grew up, I mean we always had to clean our plates off. And so now I say that this food is going to go to waste or it's going to go to my waste. Which would you prefer? So simple tactics like that that can help us breathe, work with us and trying to help us exercise, to eat better and then we start taking a look at the S for the set part of it. It actually stands for sublime. So farmers, when we get under a lot of stress, we worry day in and day out. It doesn't go away. So sometimes we're lying in bed at two o'clock in the morning worried about this. And so make a plan that we're going to worry about this, we're going to deal with this from 6 to 10 in the morning and then afterwards we're going to try to think of something more positive. So I always liken it to a lady that may be in the birthing room given birth. So back when I were going through Lamaze classes, they would tell us to put a picture of the kids or a sandy beach a great family vacation or something next to the bed. So, you could actually trade that stress by thinking about that other place then the research will show that the pain's not so bad. So when we take a look at something like, and then we'll ever say, put a picture of the husband there of course, but something that's more pleasant. But we actually trade our pain by thinking about something more pleasant. So I do this when I go to the doctor's office, I hate getting shots. So as soon as that needle starts coming my way, I'm going to start thinking about a sandy beach or you know, something that's very pleasant to me or a smiling kid or something like that. But we can definitely trade that stress for something else. But that's called the process of sublimates. So then the E in set stands for express. So how do we express to ourselves and to others just acceptance of the reality. And that kind of goes into the T as well to talk yourself through these emotions with positive things that I'm going to get through this, I can overcome this. Okay, we're going to get through it together. So we couple all those things together. I tend to say that this BEE SET tool can actually seriously take this thing out of stress and research will show that it actually can. So those are what I would tend to use as mindset tactics about what we can try to do for that.

Caitlyn Lamm: I know for me personally, it's uncomfortable to talk about my feelings and stress. I've gotten a bit better, but it's not necessarily in my nature. I feel like, okay, I have a roof over my head, food on my table, my health, my husband's healthy and my son's healthy. So what do I have to complain about? Or maybe that's more of the issue is, well it seem like in talking about how I feel that I come off as complaining and everyone has their own stuff going on. Am I pushing my stress onto someone else who already is carrying their own stress load? And I don't think I'm alone in these thoughts. So, how do we overcome the obstacles we've put before ourselves to talk about the things that are on our minds and why is it just so difficult to talk about stress?

Dr. Larry Tranel: Yeah, I think some of the most difficult things in life are difficult to talk about. And so when you take a look at marriages, you take a look at parent child relationships or just relationships in general is that difficult things like I said, are difficult to talk about. And so when we take a look at those difficult things, you know, people are pretty adept to talking about activities and doing this and doing that, what your schedule is for the next day. But it truly talk about inner thoughts and inner feelings about different types of things. There's just you know, some people are more extroverted, they'll talk about anything and everything. Very introverted people might have a difficult time saying much about any of those types of things. So stress actually becomes one of those because one of the things that happens, not that it's just difficult to talk about it, but it's so ambiguous in a lot of respects that a lot of times we don't understand our own stress. So, if we have issues of in the thought process, it's usually pretty simple to act for us to actually go back and figure out the facts of those thoughts. But when you start playing with the emotions, and then there's a lot of emotions under the stress is that this emotion is tied to that emotion, which is tied to something that happened five years ago, which is tied to what somebody else did, you know, 20 years ago that, I can't even remember what they did. But we know that these emotions are kind of tied. So how do you try to work with those emotions when that stress and a lot of times, like I said, we can't even identify it itself. So I think when we take a look at, I think one of the first goals that I would say especially for marriages is we, when we take a look at just the concepts of how do we learn to say whether it be I love you and just kind of shows this appreciation or there's a lot of marriages and relationships that need forgiveness. It just as simple as saying, I'm sorry, let's try to work this out. Where that listening thing about, you know, we think we listened, but we're always kind of trying to respond back with what we're going to think about or talk about next. So I hear you saying, or how do we validate another by you make sense to me because you're saying this, that, or the other thing or how do we express our empathy that, I imagine you must feel this about that. So sometimes it's important for us to have other people and that's why that talking and extending ourselves to others is so very important because they will validate those feelings or helps challenge them every now and then. We also have different types of desires that, you know, I would like you to do this. What would you like? You know, people often take each other for granted while they should know what I want to do and not to pick on women here, but they tend to be very famous thinking that their husbands just understand what they must be thinking.

Caitlyn Lamm: It's okay, I'm guilty. It's okay.

Dr. Larry Tranel: Not to be sexist about it, but that tends to happen quite a bit. And how do we express our gratitude, again, not taken for granted, but just, you know, thank you for this, I really appreciate it, what you did this or I'm feeling, then it's our responsibility, whether it be a spouses or as parents that are, is our responsibility to share our thoughts and feelings with our spouses. Okay. That's part of the deal. Okay. And we already talked about that forgiveness type thing. So I think a few things just on that whole concept of you know, what are positive communication skills because a lot of people, especially when they're spending too much time together, they just, they get into so much criticism, defensiveness about this, that, sometimes contempt or even stonewalling and things like that. And so there's a lot of different communication skills that actually go on in a lot of situations. Okay. So one of the things when people get under stress is they like to turn away and sometimes they like to turn against, okay. So in any type of communication, there's a bid for connection and in these bids for connection, we've got three choices of my mind. The first is that we can turn away, which is basically just ignoring that somebody is trying to talk to us or saying to or just continue what we're doing. Just not even being aware of just being oblivious to it. The second thing we can actually turn against where, you know, can't you see I'm busy with this? Or why do you want to waste your money? But just something kind of negative that puts in their mind, well, I'm not going to talk to this person again. Or the third one is, and this is what I really challenge, especially spouses, but no everybody to do with everybody is that turned towards. So anytime anybody says anything to you, how do you turn towards, except of course if it's a telemarketer, you can just hang the phone up. But anybody else you can turn towards and say, well that sounds like fun. I'm happy you consider the us. That's interesting. Are you sure we can afford it? But it's a positive turning towards and even if you don't have time with it right now, at least positively turned towards, I hear you, but I'm on the phone right now, so can we talk about this in five minutes or tomorrow or something like that. So I think that's one of the bottom lines of these relationships when we get stressed out is how do we always turn towards and not let the stress turn us away or turn us against.

Caitlyn Lamm: Thanks for all of those tips in that final takeaway message, Larry, I think we can apply many of these valuable tactics to our own lives. Well, that wraps up our first podcast episode on managing farm stress. Remember to subscribe to the Spokesman Speaks Podcasts in your favorite podcast app and in the weeks to come watch for the next two episodes in this three part series. I hope you find something and Larry Tranel's message to apply to your own life. As always, thank you for reading the spokesman and thanks for listening to the spokesman speaks. Until next time, take care.

Narrator: Thank you for listening to the Spokesman Speaks Podcast by Iowa Farm Bureau. Check out more podcasts and articles from the Spokesman iowafarmbureau.com/spokesman. You can also find and subscribe to the spokesman speaks podcast in the Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and other popular podcast apps. We appreciate your ratings and reviews and welcome your feedback at podcast@ifbf.org.

Part 2: Making effective business decisions and communicating, despite stress (released May 13)

Click here to view the transcript +
Narrator: Since 1934 Iowa's farmers have turned to the Iowa Farm Bureau Spokesman as their trusted news source. Now the Spokesman Speaks. Listen in and hear from leading experts on topics important to farmers and agriculture. Now here's your host.

Caitlyn Lamm: Welcome to this special episode of the Spokesman Speaks Podcast. I'm Caitlyn Lamm and thank you for tuning in. Today, we're getting into the second episode of our three part series on managing farm stress, featuring expert advice from Dr. Larry Tranel. In our first episode, we talked about identifying when we're carrying too much stress and specific techniques to use when we're overwhelmed by stress. So if you haven't taken a listen to that, I'd encourage you to do so. Next week, on May 18th we will be tackling managing farm stress and family life. So be sure to subscribe to the Spokesman Speaks Podcast in your favorite podcast app to catch that final episode of this three part series. But today, Dr. Tranel, a pastoral psychologist and dairy specialists with Iowa Stat Extension. And I are talking about how to make the best business decisions in the face of stress and how to communicate with the people who are part of our farm business team. So Larry, thank you for joining us for segment two and our stress management podcast series. And our first session we talked about recognizing when our stress is above normal levels, specific coping skills to help during stressful times, and also the importance of talking about our stress with others. And in keeping with that theme of communication, I want to discuss with you stress in decision making and business communications. So we know, yes, farming is a lifestyle and it's one that Iowa farm families feel very blessed to live, but we also know that farming is a business. So how can stress affect our financial and business decisions?

Dr. Larry Tranel: Okay, so the bottom line is that stressful affect decision-making, no matter what kind of decision it is. And so when you start taking a look at, let's say the personal ones, we kind of dealt with that in the previous segment. But when it starts taking a look at how to deal with those are decisions that, because we tend to withdraw, we tend not to respond sometimes in a very positive manner. And so that really gets into our decision making, whether it be just by ourselves or as a family or as a family living on the farm. And so when we take a look at those personal decisions, stress really kind of mitigates our ability, puts down our ability to actually make good decisions because we're not thinking clearly because whether it be lack of oxygen to the brain or just our focus isn't there if we can't have really make sure and put down the side of the other thing about an organized, calculated way to try to make that decision. When we take a look at the financial or business decisions, I think when we're there you know, people, especially if you're consultants that work with farmers, this is one of the things I really try to do is help them focus and at a time when they need to make the most serious decisions. It's kind of like when they're under their most stress is kind of their biggest inability to make the decision. And so I think the biggest skill I try to work with producers there is not just to help them write it down, but sometimes if they're really under stress, please write it down for them. Okay, because what I tend to find is that people can process information and they can think about this issue and think about this issue. I've had farmers that have said, you know, we've been wrestling with this issue for the past 20 years, but until the fact that you've made us write it down, we never got anything done with that. So, how do we sort out our thoughts and organize our thoughts and actually a game plan. And so it's not just, I'm writing down our thoughts, but it's actually putting them into an order about the pros and cons of this situation. Or this is what I'm going to do and these are the action steps that I'm going to use to try to attain this goal. So I think that's a pretty important piece that we work with it there. So the financial business decisions, I think those are just, we need to organize them, put them down on paper and talk to other people and let them kind of shoot holes in it. I tend to find that works out very well for me. Because there's definitely a lot of things that I just sometimes you just don't think about. And then sometimes we realize, and I found this out on my own farm, is that sometimes we're the worst consultant on our own farm. And I'll just say, when I was building my own milking parlor and that's what I specialize in. I thought I knew exactly where this milking parlor was going to go. And I just asked a friend who also worked in milking parlors to just come over and take a look at it. And lo and behold, that milking power does not sit where I thought it should've sat. So again, get an outside set of eyes to try to work with some of these things.

Caitlyn Lamm: Everything you said really resonates with me as a beginning farmer. This is the second year my husband Craig is putting in a crap. We still have some old crop lifts to sell that's got to go somewhere in these next few months. And because of our on-farm storage capacity, we know there's a lot of grain this fall that has to go straight from the field to the co-ops. So, you know, trying to market that as well. And I know each morning as I check the grain prices, I almost like hold my breath, which is opposite of what you said before. Like, we should keep breathing, right? But you know, I had a marketing plan put together at the beginning of the year and now I'm like, yeah, we may have to change my price targets here, especially with a local ethanol plant that we sell to slowing down production. And I'm not offering as many bids. And so we know right now that livestock and grain prices have heavily declined some more than others. And options on where to market commodities continue to come online and go offline and some farmers are having to make extremely hard decision. So going back to, I know that you're a pastoral psychologist, but then you also have this arm business management side. How can we plan for short term and long term needs on the farm? Especially as we know prices may be in flux and bills and cash rents might still be due.

Dr. Larry Tranel: The first thing I would say is to make sure that we have an operating plan and I think there is some farm businesses and it's kind of sad to say that as important as an operating plan is we also need to have an exit plan. Even though we don't want to think about exit plans, there is a time to pull the plug on certain operations. And sometimes we are so emotionally tied to this farm that is so difficult for us to even think that maybe this farm is not going to become a reality for us. And so you mentioned you as a beginning farmer and we've got other older generation farmers that you know, they're planning to farm till the day they die. So at some point in time, when is it just not worth it financially, the physical and the mental stress to continue to go on as a farm operation? So I think that's a decision that needs to be thought of that we not just have an operating plan, but at what point, and it's easier to make that decision while you still have the decision to made because we realized, and I hate to even mention the word bankruptcy, but as we realize that people that can't pay bills and the banker is putting a lot of pressure on them and when you start taking a look at that spiral, the bankruptcy, once it gets to that point where we start on the spiral, it's tough to stop it. Okay. So those decisions I think need to be made while you still have the decision making capacity. Because else we get to a point where the banker's going to make that decision or somebody outside our family is going to actually have to make that decision because it's the financial one and the bucks got to stop somewhere. The money has got to get paid back somehow. So I think as we take a look at our responsibility with lenders and bankers and other people that we work with, nutrition consultants or places that we buy feed or we sell our crop. I think the bottom line is just open communication and open communication starts by being very positive about it. That we realize as best we can that when we go talk to somebody that we try to start with some positive things, try to couch it and you know, it's not just a nice day, but we are really appreciate the good job that you do and buying our product or whatever it is. And when we take a look at, we're kind of all doomsday, we're just going to put some thoughts into their mind about all this pharmaceutical not going to make it just because the attitude of the operator. So how do we try to stay positive just in our own attitude as we try to have this open communication with other people. So when we take a look at these obligations and how do we talk to with them in times of stress? Maybe they don't need to know everything. But I think it's important that we stay pretty open that the, I can't pay this bill this month, but here's my plan. And as long as the price stays at this level here, I should be able to pay it off by say, August or September or whatever. And I realize there's a lot of agribusinesses right now that are not loaning any credit whatsoever. They're as scared as anybody else about what's going to happen here in the next three to six months and with some things in agriculture. But again, I think open communication is just, without a doubt, the key.

Caitlyn Lamm: Thanks Larry. These are all really great things to think about in taking in that big picture in long term look at our farming businesses. And earlier we had talked about stress mitigating our ability to make clear decisions. And so especially now when we're feeling overwhelmed, it may be important to get that second set of eyes on our business plans or to look at what we're doing now to see what's possible for changes needed in the future. So can you give us some ideas of who farmers should be looking to or reaching out to right now for that second set of eyes to take an on bias look at their operations or business plans and what's the best way to open up that conversation?

Dr. Larry Tranel: Yeah, I think the big thing is that they do have open conversations and so those people that are a part of our operation that are actually providing advice possibly to us already, like our veterinarians or our agronomists. I always recommend that we have open conversations with our bankers, especially because we just need to realize that they carry a pretty special role in a lot of these farms. They also have to make sure that they're protecting the assets and also make sure that there's enough cash flow to actually get the bills paid on time. And so as long as we realize that the bankers themselves can be some pretty good pieces of advice, but just to realize that they're probably in more of a protection mode and a cash flow mode versus a profitability mode for a lot of producers as they try to look at the profitability of their farm. So, just to kind of be cautious but yet be very open with them I think as well, especially when times are tough. So I think aside from that, please look to ISU Extension and Outreach. So that is covered in every County across the state. And yes, we are open for business even though a lot of things are closed down, but most of us are working out of our homes. I tend to say that Iowa State Extension is probably the best extension service in the country. And I don't think I'm being that bias by saying that either. But there is a person that works out in the field and just about every enterprise that we have, including our farm management and sometimes even some you know, farmer market type things. There's a lot of those around the state as well, but we have them in dairy, swine, beef. So whatever enterprise people are dealing with, we probably have a field specialist would be working with that and be a very unbiased source of advice. And if they don't know the answer, I'm sure they'd probably know somebody that does it. Probably easiest way to get a hold of any of us is to contact your local county extension office or get on the website and click on your particular county and it will list all those specialists that are available to each and every county.

Caitlyn Lamm: I think those are some really great resources. Larry and I would be biased too because I used to work for extension, so I know that there are some wonderful people out there who are doing great things in the ag and, and farm business world. And I know that another great resource is the Iowa Concern Line. So can you tell us a little bit about that?

Dr. Larry Tranel: Yeah, so the Iowa Concern Line, there's a hotline available and the, I'll give you the number here, +1 800-447-1985 it's available for stress. It's available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We've got trained staff always on the line and so it's free and confidential for any crisis situation. There's also legal education, a number where you can actually do dial seven one and there's also where you can chat with them via email with just at iowaconcern@iastate.edu, so that live chat, secure communication. There's also an Iowa Healthy Families Line at +1 800-369-2229 and that's a toll free line for just health information and things like that. And there's also a teen line, so +1 800-443-8336. And so I think with any issues that we're dealing with, Iowa State has a great resource in those hotline and some of the telephone numbers that kind of are associated with the Iowa Concern Hotline which again +1 800-447-1985 we're here to help.

Caitlyn Lamm: Thank you Larry. These are really hard issues to talk about and your advice for keeping an open mind to changes on the farm and bouncing ideas off of one another in the face of challenges and struggle is important, probably now more than ever. We know farmers are incredibly resilient and innovative and we can only plan for the things that we can control and for the things that we can't control, we have to keep perspective so we can make the best decisions for our families and our happiness. With that, we thank you for tuning in to part two of our stress management series and remember to subscribe to the Spokesman Speaks Podcast in your favorite podcast app to catch our final episode on May 18th as always, thank you for reading the Spokesman and thanks for listening to the Spokesman Speaks. Until next time, take care.

Narrator: Thank you for listening to the Spokesman Speaks Podcast by Iowa Farm Bureau. Check out more podcasts and articles from the Spokesman at iowafarmbureau.com/spokesman. You can also find and subscribe to the Spokesman Speaks Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and other popular podcast apps. We appreciate your ratings and reviews and welcome your feedback at podcast@ifbf.org.

Part 3: Managing stress as a family (released May 18)

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Narrator: Welcome to the Spokesman Speaks a podcast from Iowa's leading agricultural news source brought to you by the Iowa Farm Bureau. Now here's your host.

Delaney Howell: Welcome to the May 18th edition of the Spokesman Speaks Podcast, which is also the finale of Iowa Farm Bureau's special three-part series on managing farm stress in the midst of COVID-19. I'm Delaney Howell, and if you find yourself dealing with a lot more stress than usual these days, I know I certainly do. I think you're really going to appreciate hearing from Dr. Larry Tranel, a pastoral psychologist and dairy specialist for Iowa State Extension who has spent more than 30 years working with farm families. We've heard some great advice from Dr. Tranel so far in parts one and two of this series. If you haven't listened to those already, I definitely encourage you to stop here and check them out in your favorite podcast app or head to iowafarmbureau.com/podcast. Today, we feature part three of Dr. Tranel's interview with Farm Bureau's very own Caitlyn Lamm, which is all about managing stress as a family. Let's hand it over to Caitlyn for that discussion.

Caitlyn Lamm: So, if you listen to the previous two segments we've talked about recognizing stress, some specific stress, coping skills and how to relay stress to your farm business team and long term business planning. Now we're going to discuss stress and its impact on family life. And let me tell you, Larry, I have been looking forward to this segment. I've been working from home for about a month and a half, and for just about all of that time my husband's either been hauling grain or in the middle of spring planting, meaning I'm more or less single parenting, a very active toddler with no opportunity for outside help since we are quarantined. There have been days where I'm like, okay, I got this. I've made all the healthy meals. I've kept screen time to under an hour. I've got an educational activity plan to work out in, got my work done. And other days where I'm like, praying, please God, please give me the strength to make it through today. I just need to get through today. My kid can have all the goldfish he wants and watch all the tractor videos on YouTube that he wants. And I know I'm not alone on that. And I especially feel for the farm wives and the and the farm women who have school aged kids because now they've taken on this educator role on top of all the other roles that they're trying to balance. So, how can adults especially those farm wives and farm women in the home, help maintain a positive environment and not take out some of those frustrations on others in the household.

Dr. Larry Tranel: And I think you set the stage well because we realized that women are spending, they're put more effort into these farms, they've got bigger roles to play with it, not just this, that or the other thing that they're actually managing more, doing a lot of field work, managing the books, sometimes coupled with those traditional roles of the kids, the household and a lot of community leadership as well. And now we've put this additional stress on top of it as you mentioned, and so now we've got all these other things that just suddenly came on our plate plus to get a practice social distance, which was very difficult for a lot of women. It was supposed to be funny. How do you plan up with the daily schoolwork? Make a meal trip and limit the trips to the store? You got to start wearing a mask, run these errands and ever feel like everything that we touch is contaminated. Where now, we've got to teach a family member to zip on a zoom, call that to see them, make sure they're okay. And I mean this list can go on and on of what's happened. So, we take a look at a lot of farm women that were actually already, heavily stressed with a lot of roles that they were supposed to be playing. And now on top of this where they're going to be homeschooled and their kids and doing this, that or the other thing as well. And so the world is in a sense kind of flipped upside down for them. One of the things I like to say is just take time to appreciate the simple things in life because now we actually have the benefit of spending more time with our children or maybe a more time with our spouse if we were working off the farm. And now we're working remotely from home. And so there's a lot of things that actually can become a benefit here if we just take the time and smell the roses. But seems like our U.S. life has gotten so busy and so, and one of the things that we're, they call us human beings, but I think we're more endures. We always got to be doing something versus sitting back and just kind of sometimes being and appreciating those simple things in life when, especially going back to the time where life was a little bit more simpler and we didn't have that cell phone and we didn't have this or the other thing to always be running to and how do we actually learn to appreciate the fact that these things are coming to work worker working with us. So, simple things like when it's nice out, I mean just how does, just to take the time to think about it doesn't feel great just to be outside in the sunshine or watching the birds or seeing some the green grass come and things like that. So, we also have a lot of family projects that we've got in our family has done a lot more cooking together. Finding different types of things, different types of recipes, and you know, if we would always just be going to a restaurant or whatever. A lot of times this thing is I'm getting lost, but again, how can we focus on that family time? I think for a lot of people just to really look how we can appreciate it. But I want to take a look at a lot of the stress. A lot of the farm women, a colleague of mine, Jen Bentley, has this dairy girl acronym. The D stands for deep breathe as we talked about in the previous segment. How do we stay active with our own goals and making sure that we're exercising and how do we implement the change? And hopefully those changes are pretty positive ones. And to remember your team because we have this social network, hopefully, or this family network and how do we remember who they are and why we're actually here and what our purpose is as wife, as mother, as friend, as community leader of whatever. And I think as we take a look at the gratitude that we have for life itself, how do we use that to that gratitude, increase our own happiness, restore our body, mind and soul and just to continue to learn. Because as these kids learn, and I just think of some of the homework that was probably when some of my kids were in about the fifth grade is when I started throwing my arms and say, "I can't help you with this." A little more complicated than I'm used to. But I think there's a lot of things we just need to sit back and actually learn to appreciate and help kids and talk meaning to them about what this means and what that means. Because we just so often in this culture just pass over things just because we got to get it done. We don't take the time with family members to talk about this. The meaning of it, the definition, the reality of it, how this relates to something else, the respect we need to have, whether it be for nature or for this person or whatever, and just really talk in their time and kind of talk their walk.

Caitlyn Lamm: When it comes to our spouses. You know, we're all carrying varying loads of work. And whether we like it or not, I feel like sometimes resentment can kind of creep into our relationships, you know? Yes, I understand you had a rough day. The tractor broke down. The dealer has to order parts and you didn't eat all day because it was one thing after another. But you know, can't you see that I'm cleaning up an absolute tornado of a house because the kids were wild animals and I can't figure out, like you said, schoolwork is getting complicated and now they don't carry the one in math anymore. And there's all this common core stuff that I don't get. And so especially you mentioned women have more of a role on the farm than ever before and there's so much going on. But you know, what strategies can we use to avoid resentment and, or just when we're just tired, we just don't have the motivation and neither spouse really feels 100% how can we give our kids and our spouse our best when we don't really feel our best?

Dr. Larry Tranel: And Caitlyn, I guess one of the things I would first say is how do you embrace this crisis? We learn to be strong because we go through different types of things like this. Let the crisis teach us about ourselves. There's one thing that we always said about there's nobody's ever going to teach you more about yourself or more than you ever want to know. Then your spouse, okay. In good times and in bad. And so as we take a look at the crisis that we're in is that we're not going to be the same person after that as we were before and we're, but we're going to choose, are we going to be stronger or weaker after this? And I think as spouses try to relate to each other or just, it's not just they embrace each other, but they embrace the crisis and continually remind each other that we're going to get through this often.

Dr. Larry Tranel: We start playing victim or he started playing the blame game and these relationships as well. And so, we realized that things are going to happen. We're busy. We make mistakes. And we also realized that an unforgiving spirit actually takes a lot of energy out of us. And so any time, as you mentioned that word, resentment so this person did this, we start resenting it. It takes a lot of our energy for us to actually try to think through that process of why they do this or why didn't they do that? Did you understand how this affected me? And so we need to actually refuse to be that victim and we need to refuse to play that blame game as we work with them. I think a third thing that kind of creeps up in these relationships during the stress is that we have a hard time accepting our emotions. I mentioned before that sometimes we have a hard time identifying them and even if we do identify them, I think it's even sometimes more difficult to accept what we've identified and try to figure out through that. So, what do we do? We lay up in bed at night with our chest pounding or mind racing thoughts of anger, failure, guilt, shame, all these things that you've mentioned and even death might surface during that time. So, we don't want to deny those thoughts, but we need to accept those thoughts as part of whether a grieving process or learning process to work with it. And actually realize that those thoughts are actually pretty normal. They are who you are. And living with our emotions is painful, but it helps us build resolve to persevere, to build that resiliency over time. And so it's important for us to deal with those emotions. We also need to make sure we continue to connect with each other. And so now what do we do? We have these families that are hunkered down at home by themselves. And so back in the day not a big deal, but we've become so trained with our, whether it be our telephones or you know, connecting with people that it's harder for us to actually connect. And so when we take a look at this, and I know men tend to be not as great as communicators, as what women tend to be, they tend to be less verbal. And so when we take a look at how do we try to keep that in an era of social distancing, still have some social connection because it's pretty important for us to reach out and keep us connected to the world and to other people. Another thing that I kind of mentioned is that you know, in times of crisis like this, people often turn quite negative and we can't really avoid negative people, but how do you try to not let their negativity come back to us? So, when we take a look at positive emotions they're pretty catchy, but so our negative emotions as well and so, nothing that really crashes us down faster than people with negative thoughts and research on stress and crisis as with health issues so that people with positive attitudes, they tend to handle and they tend to recover from crisis better than those with negative attitudes as part of the resilience training that we have. So, how do we keep our sense of humor? How do we force ourselves sometimes the smile you've mentioned a couple of times just as you take a look at some of the feelings you've had about being a spouse and maybe not being good enough or this, that, or the other thing, but how do we keep that sense of humor alive? Force ourselves to smile in my own life? I know in the past two, three weeks I've had to find stuff to smile about and force myself to smile. And again, it's a mindset tactic. Even if I'd have to look in the mirror and just kind of laugh at myself a little bit, but it gets those serotonin levels, that happiness index a little bit. And it seems like once we kind of dig ourselves out of that little hole that we have a hard time smiling and break that barrier with a smile. It's a little easier for us to feel a little happier when we meet the next person or deal with that. So, there's a lot of people being shut out right now. So, a lot of this stress, what do we do? We shut people out of our lives. Definitely not the best resiliency strategy taking care of ourselves. And so maybe I'm a little culprit at this, but men that tend not to shave near as much, or we spend the day working in our pajamas. I know farmers aren't going to be like this, but sometimes we're not taking care of ourselves quite as much as we were before this pandemic hit. And then I think one of the last things is just how do you believe in tomorrow? Is there a reason this crisis is happening? You take a look at people of faith. Research shows that people with a prayer life with a faith life tend to actually become more resilient in understanding and dealing with their problems over time. And so that's one thing we just kind of, what do we believe in, believe in yourself, believe in a higher being. And I'm not saying that from an extension perspective, but I'm saying that from the part of research that shows that people believe in something bigger than themselves tend to become more resilient. So, take the bull by the horns and I think that's just a strategy for all of us to be resourceful, to be resilient and do it for yourself as well.

Caitlyn Lamm: Hey, a lot of great thoughts there, Larry. And I know that as we've said, you and I are both people of faith. And I mentioned when I was having that bad day, I say a little prayer, I just need a little strength to get through today and tomorrow. And I can just say from a personal perspective that helps me. So, I appreciate you bringing that to the table. And I want to switch gears here to talk specifically about our kids. So, I think sometimes it seems especially with maybe older kids who have more of an understanding they see mom and dad are tackling their own, their own struggles or challenges. Maybe they don't want to bother them with whatever they're personally thinking or feeling. So, what types of signs are there that children may be experiencing stress and how can parents help their kids adopt stress management strategies?

Dr. Larry Tranel: Okay, so one of the early signs would be you know, when they have trouble like focusing in school, but they're not in school now, but if they have trouble focusing just on their schoolwork this, that, or the other thing, I think that's always a mindset. One when he started having emotional outbursts. I'm not listening kind of a rebellious type thing. I mean most teenagers in that 14 to 17 year time frame, they tend to be a little on the rebellious side too. And sometimes I'd be more concerned if they didn't rebel at me as a parent during that time frame just because that's how they're growing. They're becoming more of an individual and less dependent on themselves. And so it's actually a tactic that they need to go through is actually to rebel against their parents in a sense there. I think when we take a look at kids, parents need to make sure that they're taking care of themselves first because just like if you're on the airline and the mass drops, they always tell you to put your mask on first so you can better help your kid. It's the same thing as you need to take care of your own sleep, your own eating habits, your exercise and be healthy and fit yourself. And then it's a lot easier for you to actually help your kids. But we realized that, well adjusted youth, they tend to come from well adjusted parents. And so modeling healthy behavior is definitely the key. So, when kids witness unhealthy conflict, through the farm or family they always tend to think sometimes it's, I'm the kind of stay in their mind forever when they witness a say a parent fighting. And so we realized that kids tend to magnify a lot of issues where they make it a lot bigger than it is. So, even though it's a small thing, mom and dad just got in an argument and they magnify it while it looks like they're getting a divorce. So, how do you magnify? They also internalize a lot of things is that when something happens, whether it be something very external to them, like that might be the farm might be leaving the family. So, they might internalize this or mom and dad might be getting a divorce. They internalize it while it's all my fault. So, they definitely make things bigger than they are and they tend to internalize and think we need to recognize that as parents that they tend to have to work with that so you can cause them to be anxious, scared, sleepless nights and again they're going to respond but either acting out or turning inward where they have trouble interacting and dealing with their own relationships or concentrating, performing in school or elsewhere. So, we realized that all families have conflict or they're not normal. So, I come from a normal family. My kids are growing up in a normal family. That tends to be part of the picture. So, to try to get away from conflict is not actually a healthy thing. In fact, when we work with marriage counseling we actually encourage, sometimes we'll say couples that never argue tend not to grow together very well either. So, arguments challenging each other, sometimes even conflict or whatever, it helps us grow as people and helps relationships grow as well.

Caitlyn Lamm: When you talk about the need to rebel against parents. I just like internally shutter, our toddler hasn't quite hit that terrible two phase yet, but we've definitely experienced some legit meltdowns. And I'm not a perfect mom by any means and I think I'm really honest about that. But one thing that I am proud of is when our toddler, Ryan starts fussing, my husband and I will say like, "Hey buddy, can you take a deep breath?" And he stops and he, he does, he takes like a deep inhale and blows it out. Like almost like so exaggeratedly that you have to try not to laugh, but you know, he's young and I know he's probably not going to have a lot of memories from this time and we can't explain to him necessarily what's happening in the world. And you know, why he has to talk to Gaga through the window or why he can't hug Papa. But you know, with those older kids, how do we communicate what we're dealing with, particularly maybe if it's a financial issue and you know, do we protect them from bad moves and potential changes or what, what level of honesty is appropriate?

Dr. Larry Tranel: So, I would say what level of honesty is appropriate is that I would never encourage anybody to lie their children. So, honesty is always the number one thing because people, kids, when they pick up that, well, mom and dad didn't tell us the truth. So, the young trustee in this thing that, so we might not tell them all the truth. And so based on age appropriate levels of what they can understand, I would tend to encourage us to share with them what's going on that yeah, there we've got some financial difficulty on the farm for the older kids, for the younger kids, there's just you know, things just aren't working quite as well out. We can't afford to do this or we can't afford to do that. Hopefully at some point we can, but just in a very age appropriate manner. I think it's important for us to tell them the truth of what's going on because kids will figure it out, even if we don't tell them they know something's going on. So, they're very intuitive I think in that way. So, when we take a look at communicating with these kids under stress, I always think that there's what I call kind of a talk plan. So, we've got to talk meaning. So, how do you teach kids to see and appreciate the meaning of even small good things in their life starting at an early age? They tend to find greater happiness and satisfaction even admits difficulty and that helps them understand the bigger picture and the bigger meaning of life as they get older. So, don't be afraid to talk with those young kids about just the meaning of this, that, or the other thing, especially in nature that family values of faith, values and things like that. I think it's important for us to talk definition is that help us define who they are and their strengths and their abilities, not just on athletic talents or musical talents, for example. But how do you call attention to their goodness, the kindness, their sensitivity. So, it's those virtues in life, not their athletic skill or whatever that I think really need to talk definition with the kids. And how do you try to encourage them daily while it's still today with positive points and maybe you mentioned 5 or 10 positive points for every negative point you work with. I think we also need to talk positive reality that help youth realize that if they want to feel good about themselves, that they seriously need to think good about themselves. So, new age parenting, it just seems like we don't want our kids to feel sorry for themselves or feel bad about this, that, and the other thing. Personally, I think is the totally wrong approach is that we need to help kids think good about themselves. If you want them to feel good about themselves. So, we need to worry more about their thought process than we do about their feelings and if we can help them empathize with what they're going through feeling wise and help them think through it. Again, focusing more on the thoughts and the feelings. I think we are going to have a kid that's better resilient to deal with what comes in life. So, humility and confidence I think are two things that we sometimes fail as a society to teach our kids. We teach them to have a lot of pride in themselves, which sometimes can actually work against us versus knowing what that virtue of humility is. We also want to make sure they talk relative and that magnify their problems. So, our farm youth don't always have everything everybody else does, but I like to take my kids into foreign cultures and let them see what poverty truly looks like. And it helps them truly understand and maybe better appreciate the things that they have and the life that they have here. So, it's a relative thing and how you talk relativity to these kids about why this is more important than that or whatever. Respect. Because when the kids get under stress, they tend to have less respect for teachers, parents, this, that, or the other thing. And I started to always think that we need to model that in our own life. And even as we go through conflicts, as husband, wife, or neighbor to neighbor or whatever is just how do you model healthy ways to try to deal with life's problems? And I think that's pretty important. And when people talk about different things that they work with when people talk about a lot of negative things, how do you focus on talking about joy with your kids and help them experience joy in their relationships by just being appreciative, by being joyful yourself, looking at the blessings, even in sorrow, joking around as appropriate and even being affectionate and empathetic, which having that tender touch as you work with people. So, I think there's a lot of things like that that we can work with to help kids manage their stress themselves. If I was to kind of sum it up, I think with kids is that sometimes we fail just to talk at their level because we realize that adults can be quite intimidating to youth. And that's so much just because we're taller or whatever, but height is actually associated with power. So, even sitting or kneeling or just getting closer to their level can help her improve our communication or eye to eye contact. And how do you try to talk in their time? Because we realized that youth are not as talkative when their minds are occupied someplace else like meal times and car rides or family game time, or just one of my favorite parts is just lying in bed at night putting the kids to bed, and just that little prayer time because if you really want them to focus on things that are important the last things that they talk about or think about before they fall asleep to kind of get that into their subconscious and work with things. We also kind of talk in their talk using word pictures, things that they can understand because a lot of times we're using a language that might be above them. But I just think when we take a look at keeping the fundamentals of parenting, which you got to keep the fun in it, which you also got to keep the mental part of it, that thought process and help them think through different types of things. So, I would just tend to say that it's important for us to just deal with these kids in their stress and help them understand it, tell them things in a very age appropriate way, but definitely tell them and be honest to them.

Caitlyn Lamm: Larry, thank you so much for joining us with this. Stress management series. We've talked about dealing with stress within ourselves, our family farms are as a business, our family units. You know, we're in some difficult times that you also acknowledge, have opportunity for growth and resiliency. So, how do you see things coming out on the other side, where can we positively go from here? And if we need more assistance, where can we turn?

Dr. Larry Tranel: So, there's a lot of things. I think one of the biggest things that people under stress and they kind of wallow in their own problems even become more stressed. And so the people that have become most resilient to a lot of stress. Are the people that do things for others and they worry about other people's problems, sometimes more than their own, whether that's good, bad or indifferent. But people that are other minded tend to be. So, that's one thing I encourage people to do is you know, it's easy to look at our own problems, but I suspect we probably have a lot better than a lot of people. In this lot of life when we take a look at some of the resources that might be available and you can always give us a call. And you know, with extension, there's a lot of organizations that have people that work in different areas, whether it be as consultants with mental health and things like that. I would like to mention again the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at +1 800 273 8255. And in addition to that, they also have a QPR training that you can actually I contact extension and actually try to sign up and actually be kind of certify yourself to be actually trained over. It's only about an hour training, but just I thought it was very valuable. You have myself to be trained in trying to work with people a lot through suicide. You can also reach the Iowa concern hotline, which is another one 800 number. And open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It's +1 800 477 1985. We also have a dairy team, farm stress resource page that if you just Google or do an internet search on extension, dairy team, ISU extension, dairy team, farm stress that internet site will actually come up. And so the bottom line of all this, I guess I would tend to say is: stay proactive about it. So, that are reactive or have this victim mentality or that everything is beyond my control, tend to not handle the stress very well and they tend to lose hope. So, no matter how bad life gets, we still have a lot of freedom to control our attitudes and control our responses and even our actions even admits these are very challenging times. So, again, find things to smile about. Take a look at time to stretch, exercise, just simply breathe, extend yourself to others. Try to just be aware of how others in the neighborhood are coping as well because like I said, it's easy for us to wallow in our own stress and grief and not realizing that our problems might pale in comparison to our neighbors or others who are near or far from us. And we also realize that life itself is pretty relative. So, learning about self through others, realizing we might have a lot better than we thought.

Delaney Howell: We'd like to thank Dr. Tranel for sharing his extensive knowledge with us over the course of this three part podcast series on managing farm stress. I think it's really helpful to hear from someone who just gets the stress that farm families are facing right now and I think we can all agree that Dr. Tranel with his 30 plus years of experience working with farmers really understands the obstacles that rural America is facing right now. Again, if you'd like to go back and listen to this entire three-part series on managing farm stress in the midst of COVID-19 just subscribed to the Spokesman Speaks Podcast in your favorite podcasting app or go to iowafarmbureau.com/podcast. And if you like even more information and resources on coping with stress including the free and confidential hotlines that Dr. Tranel mentioned. Head out to iowafarmbureau.com/farm stress. That's it for this episode of the Spokesman Speaks. I'm Delaney Howell, and if you enjoyed this episode, I hope you'll subscribe to the podcast and join us for the next regularly scheduled episode on June 1st. Until next time, I hope that you stay safe, protect your loved ones, and find new ways of responding to the challenges of feeding our neighbors in Iowa and all around the globe. Thanks for reading the Spokesman and thanks for listening to the Spokesman Speaks.

Narrator: Thank you for listening to the Spokesman Speaks a podcast by Iowa Farm Bureau. Check out more podcasts and articles from the Spokesman at iowafarmbureau.com/spokesman. You can also find and subscribe to the Spokesman Speaks Podcast in the Apple podcasts, Google play, and other popular podcast apps. We appreciate your ratings and reviews and welcome your feedback at podcast@ifbf.org.


For more free and confidential resources, including the Iowa Concern Hotline and the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, visit IowaFarmBureau.com/FarmStress.

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Since 1934,  The Iowa Farm Bureau Spokesman has been Iowa’s leading agriculture news source, and today it is the largest circulation ag newspaper in Iowa. While the Spokesman newspaper is available exclusively to Iowa Farm Bureau members, The Spokesman Speaks podcast is available publicly, reaching farmers on-the-go with stories that matter to them. You can  find episodes of the podcast here or subscribe and listen in your favorite podcast app, such as Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify, iHeartRadio, Stitcher, TuneInRadio, or Radio.com.