Beyond Stressed: The Effects of Trauma on Farmers, Their Communities, and Sustainability Outcomes


Farmers represent a unique population that is chronically exposed to potentially traumatic events particular to the agricultural industry, such as the farm crisis of the 1980s, extreme weather events, volatile markets, economic insecurity, farm bankruptcies and foreclosures, and high rates of farmer suicides. Exposure to such events can have dramatic effects on the people who live through them that can go beyond the experience of stress. In this workshop, Dr. Chris Morris, who previously worked for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service for 15 years in Texas, will present the results of his dissertation research conducted at Iowa State University examining how these potentially traumatic events affect individual farmers, their families, and their farming communities. The ways in which these types of trauma impact farm management decisions and sustainability outcomes, as well as implications for how agricultural and social policy can buffer the effects of trauma, will also be discussed.


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