Balancing Your Health and the Spring To-Do List

Stressed farmer in the field.

Richard Purdin, OSU Extension, Adams County ANR/CD Educator

The month of May is a busy time on the farm, from making hay to building fence, planting crops, and tending to livestock. For many small and medium sized farms these tasks are commonly placed on the shoulders of a few individuals. With less labor force available on smaller farms, producers can easily become consumed in the work at hand and forget about taking care of their health and wellness. Here are a few steps you can take this spring to stay physically and mentally well.

Signs of Becoming Overstressed

Farming is a very stressful occupation, long work hours, seasonal demands, inconsistent weather, and finances can be a few of the many factors that can lead to stress on the farm. Farmers and farm workers need to learn the signs of stress. Some key factors of becoming over stressed include:

  • Lack of sleep or inability to sleep.
  • Moodiness or poor attitude.
  • Change in eating habits.
  • Depression or lack of communication with others.
  • Weakened immune system.

Managing Stress During Crunch Time

  • Get at least 7 hours of sleep.
  • Communicate with family and friends.
  • Remember to take time to eat and drink.
  • Set a goal for the day and complete one job at a time.
  • Remember to get out of the tractor and stretch throughout the day.

Pack a Healthy Lunch for the Field

Just because you are working in the field does not mean you cannot have a healthy meal. Your lunch should provide a quarter to a third of your daily required nutrients, this does not mean a Little Debbie cake and soda!

  • Pack a lunch box or bag with a cold pack to help keep cold foods safe.
  • Avoid mayonnaise, salad dressings or egg containing foods.
  • Include vegetables and fruits in your meal.
  • Remember to pack plenty of water.
  • Keep your food clean -- pack washing material such as cloths, soap, and water to clean hands before eating.

For more information and safety steps see,

Richard Purdin, ANR/CD Educator Adams County, can be reached at (937) 544-2339 or This column is provided by the OSU Extension Agricultural Safety and Health Team,