Ag Day Breakfast

The Ag Day Breakfast was held on Saturday.

Merril Smith with the Bread of Life announced that this year will be their 5 annual Farmers Feeding the Flock. They thank all the businesses who support them and the local agriculture. This year the Bread of Life turns 20 and while they may have started out small, last week alone they served over 300 meals. They moved into their new location in January and thank all who helped them be able to make the move.

Decatur County Memorial Hospital CEO Rex McKinney spoke about a few key things for the hospital. DCMH is your hospital and they are celebrating their centennial this year. About a year ago MediCare gave DCMH a 5 star rating and they are also rated as one of the top 100 critical access hospitals in the country. They also have new MRI and mammogram machines being installed soon.

Courtney Wittmer with Decatur County Memorial Hospital spoke on both mental and physical health of the community. Every couple of years they do a health evaluation of Decatur county. It had been found that the stigma surrounding mental health keeps people from talking about it whether out of embarrassment or fear. While managing a business, we forget about ourselves and when you don’t put yourself first occasionally, it can cause a downward spiral. Rural communities are at a 45% risk of suicide, which is higher than an urban areas risk. Talking about mental health helps decrease the stigma around it.

Kurtis Klain with Farm Bureau Insurance came to discuss their new health plan. Health insurance is you pay what your employer has you pay. A health plan is more cost effective and based on your health, allowing you to pick what you need covered. For access to the health plan option, you need to be a member.

The keynote speaker was Nathan Brown, a first generation farmer from Ohio. They grew up in the rural countryside and now farm about 1,100 acres and has just about everything on the farm. Brown’s main topic of discussion was protecting your farm’s biggest asset- you. Without you, your farm doesn’t exist. An asset is anything with value, so what do you do of value on the farm? Do you add yourself to your balance sheet? If not, then you don’t realize what you’re truly worth. You have to do maintenance on your equipment and assets and when you don’t do maintenance what happens? Your assets break down. There is a stigma around mental health, but why? One of the main reasons is competition where you don’t want your competitor to know your weaknesses. Stress is a main contributor to mental health depletion. Stress has many causes- financial, buying new equipment, weather, extreme working conditions, pushing yourself too hard, isolation, and social pressures are all real stressor whether you realize it or not. Farming is hard work both physically and mentally. So what are the signs of stress? Changes in sleeping and eating patterns, drinking or drugs, mood swings, drawing away from family and friends, and a negative change in mindset. It’s ok to not be ok. Watch for the signs in your family, friends, and yourself. Talk to each other to listen, not to respond. It’s ok to seek help from friends, family, or professionals. There is no shame in seeking help.

Morgan Schofield


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