“SEA Says” from CSU Extension Office

CSU Extension Website

You are your _________________’s guardian!

As current drought conditions deepen and expand, the above statement becomes much more relevant.  Each individual can fill in the blank as they see fit: husband, wife, neighbor, child, friend, etc. Due to events beyond their control, agriculture producers are selling animals, many of which they may have risen from birth. 

Increased cost of inputs may be forcing some producers to liquidate assets to keep the farm.  The stress of having a second job in town while maintaining a farm and ranch may be adding strain – physically and mentally.  The list goes on and must be answered individually.   It is always easy to say, “You aren’t married to your cow herd.” or “family is more important than any piece of land”, but reality often tells us otherwise.  Deep attachments develop with the animals we nurture and the land we tend.  Attachments to livestock and land are the reasons we get up in the morning, and run much deeper than going to a nine to five job and returning home. 

Our job IS our home, it IS our identity!  With the continuing drought conditions, hard decisions are going to have to be made.  Increased stress is added that not only affects trying to make a good decision financially, but also affecting personal identification of “who we are.”  From past experiences in similar situations (i.e. – the 50’s and the 80’s) we must watch out for each other and provide support when needed. 

Data collected during the “Farm Crisis” of the 1980’s give a good indication of what stress does to families and individuals.  We all have a limit to our toughness, independence, and resilience.  In other words, there will always be times when, “we need a little help from our friends.” The Colorado State University Fact Sheet 10.255, Managing Stress During Tough Times, lists signs to be aware of to recognize stress and depression, they include:
•           Change in routine – care of livestock, maintenance of facilities, etc.
•           Physical signs of prolonged stress – headaches, frequent illnesses,         irregularities, etc.
•           Emotional signs – loss of humor, anxiety, etc.
•           Behavioral signs – withdrawal, violence, irritability, etc.
•           Cognitive signs – memory loss, lack of concentration, inability to make decisions
•           Self-esteem problems – guilt or low self-esteem
•           Signs of depression – appearance, unhappy feelings, negative thoughts, reduced activity or pleasure in usual activities, withdrawal, insecurity, or lack of future orientation in conversation.

This is where we must all take account for each other; essentially we are all in this together, including watching out for each other.  If you notice these signs in someone close to you, be a friend, talk to them or find someone for them to talk to.  The best you have to offer as a friend is to Listen with your full attention; Ask direct, open, and honest questions; and Take Action by involving others. If you have concerns about a husband, wife, neighbor, child, friend, etc., a list of professionals and their contact information is available at your local CSU Extension Office.  

Do not wait until it is too late and have to say, “I wish I would have done something.”  In Southeast Colorado, CSU Extension office locations include: Baca County 719-523-6971, Bent County 719-456-0764, Cheyenne County 719-767-5716, Crowley County 719-267-5243, Kiowa County 719-438-5321, Otero County 719-254-7608, Prowers County 719-336-7734.  Or find us on the web at:  http://www.extension.colostate.edu/SEA.  CSU Extension offers up-to-date, unbiased, research-based information to families in Southeast Colorado.  CSU Extension programs are available to all without discrimination.


Filed Under: AgricultureBusinessFeaturedHealth


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