Terrell Coffey, One of Three Oklahomans Trained as a Farm Stress CounselorsWed, 04 Mar 2020 09:22:35 CST
Terrell Coffey remembers the highly stressful farm crisis of the 1980s and how it severely impacted his Hinton, Okla., neighbors. Coffey will use those painful memories in his new role as a certified farm stress counselor.
Coffey, along with two other Oklahomans, completed several days of training at the recent National Farmers Union Convention in Savanah, Georgia. Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Editor, Sam Knipp, talked with Coffey via phone from Savanah following the training session.
Based on the farm stress program Michigan State University Extension developed for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency, this combination of online and in-person training is designed specifically for individuals who interact with farmers and ranchers.
"The biggest thing is to go out into rural communities and identify and interact with individuals who may be getting into a stressful situation," Coffey said.
"I went through the downturn of the '80s and saw a lot of my neighbors lose everything they had," Coffey said.
"When we think about illness, we don't always talk about a mental health checkup," Coffey said.
"We're trying to get out front before it becomes a crisis," he said. "I just think it's a fantastic program."
Coffey added farmers and ranchers are prideful folks and have a difficult time sharing their concerns with others.
AFR is working on scheduling presentations this spring throughout Oklahoma. To arrange a presentation on the farm stress program, contact the AFR office in Oklahoma City.
To hear Sam's interview with Coffey, click on the LISTEN BAR below.
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