November 16, 2006
Manage Personal Stress to Make Better Farming and Ranching Decisions
Some of the most pressing concerns faced by farmers and ranchers in agriculture today, such as drought stress, can elevate personal stress and disrupt sound decision-making. A family science specialist at North Dakota State University urges producers and their families to think family first and to keep their current challenges in perspective.
"Drought stress and other concerns in agriculture can put persistent strain on farmers and ranchers," says Sean Brotherson, NDSU Extension Service. "However, what farmers and ranchers want to be careful about is letting their personal stresses pile up so that their management practices and decision-making become negatively affected. When you're under stress, you may communicate less with others, become more disjointed in your thinking and make decisions based on anxiety or anger."
To assist individuals and families to think through and make healthy personal and business decisions in times of stress, Brotherson has authored an Extension publication on making family decisions in farming and ranching. The publication outlines strategies, such as clarifying your values and goals, identifying available resources, evaluating costs and benefits, and understanding decision-making styles that may affect you.
"It's helpful to have a process to work through as you are making decisions that affect your bottom line or your family security," Brotherson says. "This makes it possible to reduce stress and increase the quality of your decision-making. This is important because your decisions affect all farm or ranch operations. They also determine the quality of your personal life and family relationships."
Some of the ideas outlined by Brotherson in "Making Family Decisions in Farming and Ranching”:
"Agricultural challenges, such as drought stress, place many families in North Dakota in the position of making critical decisions about farming, financial security and family well-being," Brotherson says. "Hopefully, this resource and other ideas can be helpful in making the best decisions possible for you and your family."
"Making Family Decisions in Farming and Ranching," NDSU Extension publication FS-581, can be obtained at your local Extension office or by calling (701) 231-7882.