LOCAL NEWS

Utah offering vouchers to farmers with mental health struggles

Jun 15, 2023, 10:58 PM | Updated: Jun 16, 2023, 7:02 am

For as much as he loves farming, T.J. Rhodes knew something didn’t feel right.

“I love the lifestyle. I really do,” he said. “But there have been times where I just wanted to sell it all and quit.”

Any farmer will tell you the stress of the job can be overwhelming.

“Of all the careers out there, you’d be hard-pressed to find another career where you are so susceptible to outside influences,” Rhodes said. “You know, increasing inputs and decreasing markets and variable weather and all the pressures of pests and weeds and all those kinds of things.”

It got to a point where Rhodes spoke with a therapist, something many farmers just don’t do.

“I remember grandpa and dad, nobody ever really asked for help,” he said. “They probably had the same struggles, the same stresses, but they just kept it all inside. I think it was hard on them, but I don’t see we need to do that anymore.”

The trick, though, is getting farmers who have that independent rugged image to talk to someone.

“We don’t talk about feelings with our wives half the time, you know?” Chris Chambers said with a laugh.

Chambers, who runs a dairy farm in Cache County, was in a dark place when one of his farming friends died by suicide.

“I had several people tell me you need to go talk to somebody, you need to go talk to somebody. I said no, I will figure it out on my own, I will figure it out on my own,” Chambers said. “Finally, I realized that I couldn’t and it’s hard.”

That’s why the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food started the Ag Stress Assistance Program. It’s designed to offer $2,000 vouchers to those in the farming and ranching industry to talk to a mental health professional, even if they don’t think they need to.

“It helped me move on,” Chambers said. “It helped me to know that I am not abnormal, and I am not different.”

The same thing for Rhodes.

His daughter wrote a research paper at Utah State University about mental health for farmers.

“It’s something that I have seen be dealt with my whole life and I know it is a huge problem in the ag industry,” Brinley Rhodes said. “I am proud of my dad for getting help.”

It’s that younger generation letting older generations know it’s OK.

“If they’re struggling, reach out and get help. If they’re struggling, tell somebody,” T.J. Rhodes said.

It’s an issue the Utah Farm Bureau is also looking at, offering tips and assistance for farmers and ranchers who are feeling the stress of the job.

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

Investigators say negligence with fireworks resulted in a devastating fire in Layton that destroyed...

Shara Park

Negligent use of fireworks to blame for Layton fire that destroyed a home and vehicles

Investigators say negligence with fireworks resulted in a devastating fire in Layton that destroyed a family’s home, cars, and primary source of income.

7 minutes ago

Chris Burbank, who guided Salt Lake City Police Department from 2006 to 2015, told KSL TV security ...

Andrew Adams

Security in spotlight as Republican National Convention kicks off in Milwaukee

A former police chief said Monday the level and amount of security at the Republican National Convention would likely receive new discussion following the assassination attempt that wounded former President Donald Trump in Pennsylvania over the weekend.

42 minutes ago

Utah delegates at the RNC say they're inspired by Trump and motivated to participate after the atte...

Brianna Chavez

Utah delegates motivated to participate at RNC after attempted assassination of Trump

Utah delegates at the RNC say they're inspired by Trump and motivated to participate after the attempted assassination just days prior to the convention.

1 hour ago

Rent prices are seeing a decrease after several years of astronomical increase. Although, an expert...

Daniel Woodruff

Utah rental market softens, but for how long?

Utah's rental market is seeing a decrease in prices after years of astronomical increase. Experts say the trend will likely not last forever.

2 hours ago

(Salt Lake City Police Department)...

Mark Jones

3 men arrested in alleged stolen car operation at Salt Lake City International Airport

Salt Lake City police announced Monday the arrest of three men in connection to an alleged coordinated stolen car operation at Salt Lake City International Airport. 

2 hours ago

Handcuffs in a jail cell. (Ravell Call/Deseret News)...

Mary Culbertson

71-year-old inmate dies after medical event in custody at Weber County Jail, authorities say

A 71-year-old inmate died in the custody of Weber County Jail after a medical event.

2 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

young male technician is repairing a printer at office...

Les Olson

Unraveling the dilemma between leasing and buying office technology

Carefully weigh these pros and cons to make an informed decision that best suits your business growth and day-to-day operation. 

A kitchen in a modern farmhouse....

Lighting Design

A room-by-room lighting guide for your home

Bookmark this room-by-room lighting guide whenever you decide to upgrade your lighting or style a new home.

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Utah offering vouchers to farmers with mental health struggles