The early teen years, from about 10 to 14, are often the most difficult for parents, and even more so for teenagers. Agricultural families, rural teenagers and their parents experience the same challenges as other families, and additional circumstances unique to farmers, ranchers and farm workers.
For many of America’s farmers and ranchers, 2014 is starting with more uncertainties than we have experienced in quite a while. Much of the western half of the Corn Belt is experiencing carryover from the 2013 drought, and other parts of the Midwest have too much moisture. The late spring this year is causing additional apprehension.
A farmer who is the major caregiver for his wife when she has episodes of bipolar disorder telephoned me after reading two recent columns about bipolar disorder. He wanted to share what has been helpful for his wife and their situation.
Bipolar disorder occurs in about 1 percent of farm and non-farm people, whereas major depression occurs in about 6 percent of the general population and somewhat more frequently in the agricultural population, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
Every community, whether rural or urban, has residents who are the cultural backbone of their communities. Cultural leaders are probably more apparent in rural communities where geographical isolation occurs, but there is common agreement in nearly all communities about who “sets the tone” of their social environment.
Last week I reported predictions about what the next few years hold for agriculture, derived from the plenary addresses of several experts at the Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health conference Nov. 19 in Ames, Iowa.
The Midwest Rural Agricultural Safety and Health Conference in Ames in mid-November featured reviews of changes in agriculture during the past 40 years, along with predictions about what the next 40 years will offer. Some of the people whom I most respect for their understanding of agriculture and rural life tendered their assessments.
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