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Ohio State University Extension


Stress Management

Agricultural Tailgate Safety Training for Operators and Supervisors
Agriculture and Natural Resources
Agricultural Safety and Health Program

Objective: To learn to manage stress on the farm or in the workplace.

Trainer’s Note

Learning to manage stress can improve mental and physical health. Identify the stress factors in the workplace. Discuss how to manage or eliminate those factors. Invite a mental health or time management professional to speak. Review the true or false quiz.


Farming is one of the most stressful occupations in the United States. It is important to know how to manage stress levels and to reduce the effects of unwanted stress. One way to manage stress is to talk to other people. This support might come from family, church members, friends, or other farmers and ranchers. There are also several organized self-help groups that offer emotional support and practical help. Consult a family doctor, mental health professional, or religious leader for additional help.

Signs of Stress on the Farm or in the Workplace

  • Change in routines.
  • Decline in the care for crops, livestock, farm buildings, etc.
  • Increase in farm and workplace incidents.
  • Symptoms of stress in children.
  • Decrease interested in activities.

Three Ways to Help Manage Stress

  • Manage mental and physical health.
  • Know the warning signs of stress and monitor stress levels.
  • Change your reaction to stressful events.

Stress can be reduced by making lifestyle changes.

  • Keep a positive attitude.
  • Accept that stress is a part of life.
  • Clearly define home and work responsibilities.
  • Manage time and try not to procrastinate.
  • Set realistic goals and say no to extra commitments.
  • Learn to relax. Employees who take mid-morning and afternoon breaks will be able to get more accomplished.
  • Avoid smoking cigarettes and using alcohol or other drugs.

National Programs and Resources

  • Farm Aid Hotline, (800) FARM-AID (327-6243) 
  • National Suicide Hotline, (800) 273-TALK (8255), is a lifeline that provides free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention, and crisis resources.

Eat an adequate and nutritious breakfast each day. Hunger can make people less able to cope with stress. High blood pressure and cholesterol levels increase the chances of a stroke and heart attack. Caffeine (coffee, tea, soft drinks, and some drugs) stimulates the nervous system and can cause nervousness and tension.

Alcohol and drugs can be addictive and may reduce the ability to cope with stress. A basic exercise program, in addition to farm work, is likely to lessen stress. The exercise will produce healthier heart, lungs, and arteries, and will elevate your mood and encourage a healthy self-concept. Have a complete medical exam before beginning a program.

**Know the warning signs of stress-related problems and seek help.

Early Warning Signs of Stress-Related Problems

  • Moodiness
  • Withdrawing from responsibility
  • Trouble falling asleep
  • Poor emotional control
  • Severe feelings of helplessness and dependency
  • Chronic fatigue and susceptibility to illness
  • Marked change in appetite or sex drive

Review the Following Points

  • Stress can be managed.
  • Seek help when a problem is discovered.
  • A positive attitude makes a difference.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet.

About These Modules

The Ag Tailgate Training Series was developed by members of the Agricultural Safety and Health Program in the Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering. Revised by Dee Jepsen, State Agricultural Safety Leader, with editing assistance by Lisa Pfeifer and Cody McClain.

True or False Answer Key

  1. T
  2. T
  3. T
  4. T
  5. T

Quiz: Stress Management



True or False?    

1. Controlling the diet can control stress. T F
2. Exercise may help to manage stress. T F
3. Setting realistic goals helps reduce stress. T F
4. Stress is a part of life that everyone must deal with to be active and productive. T F
5. Seek help for stress management before it gets out of control. T F






Originally posted Oct 4, 2019.