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Published December 26, 2013, 11:46 PM

Rosmann: New Year offers time to reflect on readers’ comments, questions

For most of us, the holiday season is a time of reflection about events and accomplishments during the previous year as well as remembering the spiritual meaning of Christmas and exchanging gifts with family and friends. This week, I’ve assembled reflections from readers about my various columns and personal observations.

By: Mike Rosmann, INFORUM

For most of us, the holiday season is a time of reflection about events and accomplishments during the previous year as well as remembering the spiritual meaning of Christmas and exchanging gifts with family and friends.

This week, I’ve assembled reflections from readers about my various columns and personal observations.

Common problems for which people request assistance involve difficulties getting along with family members in farming operations, disputes over estate matters, complicated divorces and depression.

I aimed from the outset for my columns to assist the people involved in agriculture with managing their behavioral health and overall well-being.

While I have been able to personally offer professional services to a few families within reasonable driving distance, I have to refer the majority to options I can locate in their geographic region. That’s tough because there aren’t enough counselors, mediators and other specialists who understand agriculture.

There is no directory of trained agricultural behavioral health specialists. There are not enough graduate schools or continuing education programs that prepare psychologists, physicians and other behavioral health specialists to serve the agricultural population.

Positive feedback keeps me going, such as the following: “I enjoyed your article on Lincoln… I too suffered from bouts of depression … Using it to strengthen us, not debilitate us, is the key.”

“It was with tears in my eyes (as I read) your April 5 article on ‘when bad things happen to farmers.’ I was struck by a pickup … and had five surgeries. Had I not forgiven the driver I never would have healed.”

“Wondering if I could get a copy of the ‘Are farmers the biggest risk takers.’ I would like to hang it in the barn (as a reminder).”

“I recently read your article about (Native Americans) with great interest … The Indians were successful in their (agricultural) methods for many centuries or at least they survived. We have been in our (agricultural) system basically for a couple hundred years. If our system lasts as long as theirs, I will be amazed.”

Only one person thus far lambasted me. His comment about my recommendations regarding the Farm Bill was, “Government getting bigger and telling us what to do … they should go to hell.” His other comments were even more descriptive and can’t be printed.

Not everyone will have an enjoyable holiday season. Many farm families in Nebraska, Illinois, Indiana and too many other places are recovering from treacherous tornados, lack of sufficient precipitation for their crops this past season and other misfortunes.

Others are struggling to adjust to the loss of loved ones, family strife, health issues and assorted calamities. Christmas and 2014 offer opportunities to review what these circumstances bring to enable us to find renewed purpose.

The holidays should be about becoming better people and better farmers. You, dear readers, have been very kind to me. Thank you for your useful feedback and encouragement.


Mike Rosmann is a Harlan, Iowa, psychologist and farmer. To contact him, visit www.agbehavioralhealth.com.

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