May 17, 2023
Penn State Extension launches Farm Stress Real Talk podcast

Penn State Extension recently launched a new podcast — Farm Stress Real Talk — that focuses on supporting farmers, farm families and workers in the commercial agriculture industry who are experiencing stress.

Ginger Fenton, dairy extension educator, noted that podcasts are a convenient resource for farmers.

“We know farmers are busy, so we thought a podcast with targeted, practical information would be a good way to reach them,” she said. “Farmers can listen to the podcast while doing chores or operating machinery. The episodes are around 10 minutes to fit into a farmer’s busy day.”

The initial set of podcast episodes focuses on stressors that are beyond the farmer’s control. These include the weather, regulations, accidents, disease outbreaks and financial challenges, all of which can cause significant strain for those in the agricultural industry.

In the first series, the extension educators also introduce themselves, as they share a personal connection to farming and a deep investment in this topic. Moving forward, each series will have a distinct theme and consist of five episodes.

The podcast will feature interviews with a diverse range of educators, Penn State faculty members and agricultural professionals. These interviews will provide practical and relevant strategies that farmers can use to balance the demands of the farm with their own well-being.

“The team is excited about the opportunity to work with educators and faculty across disciplines and program areas,” Fenton said. “The objective of this podcast is to increase awareness, provide constructive suggestions and share real-life experiences.”

Fenton explained that mental health awareness and resources are particularly important for individuals in the farming community.

“Because of their occupation and the demands that accompany it, farmers face challenges that those outside of agriculture may not understand,” she said. “Their jobs can be stressful at times and taxing both physically and mentally. Penn State Extension, along with many other organizations, is aware of these challenges and has worked to develop resources to support the agricultural community.”

The first episode of the podcast is currently available on the Penn State Extension website. Additional episodes in the first series will be released each week for four weeks.

Podcast team members include extension educators Chi Catalone, Amber Hughes, Sonya Nace, Jill Varner and Ginger Fenton.

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