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What if You Took as Good Care of Yourself as You Do Your Farm Equipment?


An extended fall has gifted Vermont’s producers with surplus 2015 crop production and with a jumpstart on 2016’s outdoor projects. Now that winter is settling in, however, the indoor projects beckon. Completing your taxes and other financials while preparing for next season all occurs within this brief window of wintertime. As the earth takes a seasonal rest, this is your chance, also, to rest and reflect, perhaps committing to a certain time each day to focus on your self-care before next season charges in.

Farming is one of the world’s most dangerous occupations. Your safety depends on staying healthy and sharp in body and mind. What if you took as good care of yourself as you do your farm equipment (or your plantings)? Your health is a vital aspect of your farm’s machinery, and it needs maintenance.  Farm First is here to help you provide that maintenance.

Take a Personal Inventory at the New Year to assess your body/mind wellness. Reflect on the following questions for yourself and write down your answers on paper. If you have a concern in any area, please call Farm First at 1-877-493-6216 for assistance. Attending to your personal health will vastly improve your safety and your financial bottom line.


Physical Wellbeing


  1. Do I have intermittent or chronic pain and have I been checked medically?
  2. Does pain get in the way of my functioning?
  3. Would equipment accommodations make it possible to work without pain?


  1. This past season, did I fall asleep on the tractor?
  2. Am I sleeping at least seven hours/night (recommended by National Sleep Foundation)?

Upper Respiratory

  1. Do I wear a mask or other Personal Protective Equipment when needed?
  2. Do I have a chronic cough or other symptoms and have I been checked medically?
  3. Do I smoke and would I like help quitting?

Weight and Nutrition

  1. Am I at a weight that I feel good about?
  2. Do I get regular exercise?
  3. Do I have healthy eating habits?
  4. Has my doctor suggested health problems related to weight such as high blood pressure, heart disease or diabetes?

Mental and Emotional Wellbeing

 Vitality, Stress, Depression

  1. Do I feel generally vital and optimistic or low energy, worried, depressed or in-between?
  2. Am I anticipating next year’s farming with hopefulness?
  3. Do I often feel stressed and is it good (motivated) stress or over-the-top unhealthy stress?
  4. Have I had thoughts of suicide?

Relationships with Family, farm workers and friends

  1. Do I feel in alignment with my significant other and farm family members about the direction we’re taking with the farm or not?
  2. Do I have regular conflict with anyone in my life?
  3. Would I like my relationships to be better with anyone in my life?
  4. Do I have a support system of friends off the farm?

Alcohol and Drugs

  1. Does drinking or drugs interfere with any aspect of my daily life?
  2. Has a family member expressed worry about my use of drugs or alcohol?
  3. Have we lost money to alcohol or drugs?

If you notice any area in this inventory needing attention, call Farm First at your earliest convenience so that we can get you the help you need. We are staffed with Farm First mental health counselors, Farm First resource specialists and Farm First Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) counselors statewide. If you are in pain, or if you have a disability or an injury preventing you from farming, a Farm First VR Counselor will visit to assess your situation and help connect you to the right resource. We may be able to pay for changes to your equipment to make farming easier.

Farm First covers all Vermont farmers grossing $10,000+ from your farms. Use us; you won’t regret it.

                       Call Farm First at 877-493-6216 anytime, day or night. It is confidential and free.