The organizations are collaborating on a survey investigating the link between farm business management and mental health
By Jackie Clark
Farm Management Canada (FMC) has partnered with Farm Credit Canada (FCC) to deliver a survey as part of a broader project to investigate the connection between farm business management and mental health. FMC’s goal is to understand how producers can use business management as a tool to manage mental health issues in the industry.
“The project is a lot bigger than just the survey,” Denise Rollin, project manager with FMC, told Farms.com. FMC is “doing the survey with FCC. But we’re also doing focus groups and one-on-one interviews as well,” she explained.
“We’ve been working with Wilton Consulting Group out of Guelph. The last few months, we’ve been working on an environmental scan that looked at all the research that has already been done on this topic, and where the gaps are for us to actually find the connection” between farm business management and mental health, Rollin said.
Wilton Consulting Group will help to host focus groups at ag-related conferences. The organization also hopes to conduct “one-on-one interviews with about a hundred people, not only farmers but also people who work in ag business and mental health,” Rollin said.
The project will wrap up in the spring, and FMC will have a final report that summarizes the results. The project is currently only funded for one year, but Rollin hopes FMC will be able to continue the research.
“What we hope to come from this research project is really specific outcomes, resources, tools and action items that farmers can (use to) deal with mental health issues,” she explained. Farmers can use them “by looking at farm business management as a way to alleviate some of that stress,” she added.
Members of the ag industry are increasingly having open discussions about mental health.
“I think telling stories and hearing from other people that they struggle with (mental health) as well allows for it to be a conversation in the ag community. It allows it to not be a scary thing that you don’t talk about,” Rollin said.
“We want to know that people can struggle and it’s okay, but here are some really great ways we can help you work through those issues,” she added.
FCC is providing logistical help to administer the survey through its Vision Panel, because FCC already has around 4,000 registrants from the ag community. Participants in the panel can sign up with FCC and fill out their demographic information.
Over time, FCC “sends surveys that relate to (participants’) demographics,” Rollin explained. “Based on the amount of time of the survey, (participants) get vision points that go toward gift cards.”
The program encourages widespread participation in the survey, thus facilitating data collection.
If you are involved in production agriculture and interested in participating in the survey, please register for the Vision Panel before Dec. 5. A link to the survey, full project summary and ways to get involved in focus groups or one-on-one interviews can be found here.