According to Newsweek, a National Farmers Union top official and active Wisconsin farmer was one of the many farmers who lambasted President Donald Trump’s disastrous trade policy with China this week, citing evidence that increased financial stress will take a huge toll on the mental health of farmers.
Washington-based NFU vice president Patty Edelburg told Fox News on Thursday that the union, representing roughly 200,000 American farms, has seen a huge increase in bankruptcies and suicide among farmers as a result of falling income and prices.
“It has been insane,” Edelburg said. “We’ve had a lot of farmers—a lot more bankruptcies going on, a lot more farmer suicides. These things are highlighting many of the news stories in our local news."
And the data support the claim that there is a strong relationship between the vitality of farms and the mental health of farmers.
“A Morning Consult research poll released May 1 and backed by the American Farm Bureau Federation found 91 percent of farmers and farmworkers said financial issues are impacting their mental health,” Newsweek reports. “About 87 percent of those surveyed said they fear losing their farms and one-third of rural adults have personally sought mental health care.”
In 2017, Wisconsin saw a record number of 915 suicides. Experts warned that financial pressures are likely a direct cause of the rising numbers of suicides.
National Farmers Union Director of Government Relations Matt Perdue expressed serious concern about the falling prices of agricultural products to the news outlet.
“Farmers are in the midst of six consecutive years of falling commodity prices and depressed farm income," he told Newsweek. "In that time we've definitely heard increased concern from our membership, and other organizations have as well, related to folks in their community not doing well in terms of their mental health."