Farm Stress Resources

Here is a quick one-stop place for stress-related articles (annotated where possible). It is the material John Shutske has written, provided source material for, and/or developed in the last couple years. This is not comprehensive, though additional information is available by request.


  • Chronic Stress Series – These three videos, done in cooperation with Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation (and thank you to Sarah Marketon) are short summaries of workshops done for farmers, ag service providers and others in farming/finance in the last year or so.
    • Chronic Stress Part 1 – Covers basics of stress. Includes everyday, acute stress and how long term stress and pressure can lead toward the viscous cycle of chronic stress)
    • Chronic Stress Part 2 – Covers the negative outcomes of unresolved, chronic stress and its impacts on health (heart, stroke risk, diabetes, etc.), along with impaired decision making abilities, addiction, depression, and suicide risk. Introduces the concepts associated with control as a central part of breaking the chronic stress cycle (even finding ways to regain a partial sense of control)
    • Chronic Stress Part 3 – Contains practical suggestions for farmers, family members and others who provide agricultural services — on health, nutrition, exercise, PLANNING, goal setting, working with experts/professionals, mindfulness, etc. Best used with this publication for farmers as well as the “Top 10” List for agricultural service professionals.
  • Recognizing and Managing Stress in Dairy Farmers (July 10, 2018 webinar) – This is a one hour program (webinar) done as part of the four state dairy nutrition and management consortium. The featured speakers are J. Shutske and Larry Tranel, Dairy Specialist Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. This webinar requires a computer and download of the Adobe Connect application.

PowerPoint Presentations & Other

Fact Sheets and Educational Bulletins

  • Helping Tame Farm Stress – a Top Ten List – A basic piece for helping professionals (rural leaders, ag finance, consultants, service providers, feed salespeople, vets, educators, etc.). How to help a farmer/family member regain a sense of control and hope when the stress response becomes overwhelming and incapacitates decision making.
  • Farm Stress and Decision Making During Challenging Times — A comprehensive piece on farm stress and stress management practices related to communication, planning, education, personal health, nutrition, etc. Also contains a top-ten list of important safety-related reminders because of the connection between farm injury and stress.
  • Case Study – The McHenry Farm: Our Brains on Stress – A combined story of about a dozen actual situations and scenarios from places like Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Indiana – A typical few days in the life of a farm family showing both the obvious acute impacts of stress, the damaging impacts of chronic stress and depression, and the outcomes on health, safety, children, communication and relationships.

Media Articles

Websites and Hotlines

  • Wisconsin Farm Center – 800-942-2474 – The Wisconsin Farm Center provides financial counseling, mediation services, and the rural electric power services program. Farm families can access the Sowing the Seeds of Hope program through the Wisconsin Farm Center. The Sowing the Seeds of Hope counseling program provides participants with up to five vouchers to be used at any of the participating counseling agencies. There are about 140 locations serving the program. Services are confidential.
  • Community Action Agencies – Community Action Agencies provide support and assistance to low income residents. Each county is serviced by a Community Action Agency.
  • Harvest of Hope Fund – 608-836-4633 – A church sponsored initiative that provides financial assistance (maximum is $1,000 per gift) to Wisconsin farm families.
  • End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin: Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence – 608-255-0539
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline – 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) – NDVH is a nonprofit organization that provides crisis intervention, information and referral to victims of domestic violence, perpetrators, friends and families. Anonymous and confidential help is available 24/7.