How our economy — and the pandemic — factor into farm stress

Cornfield in early August near the Wright-Carver county line. How are Minnesota’s farmers and rural communities faring through economic change and the pandemic? We turn to an economist and rural mental health specialist.
Paul Huttner | MPR News file

Farming is both a joy and a difficult job, requiring work around the clock. It’s also a profession impacted by a variety of challenges — weather, commodity price changes, a fluctuating economy and now the COVID-19 pandemic.

The pandemic led to a disruption in the country’s supply chains earlier this year, impacting the state’s dairy supply chain and requiring Minnesotans to find new markets. It also affected processing plants as the virus spread among workers, impacting Minnesota’s pork industry

On Wednesday, MPR News guest host Chris Farrell talked with an economist and a rural mental health counselor about the state of the agriculture industry and how farmers —and rural communities — are coping with stress.


  • Joleen Hadrich is a University of Minnesota Extension economist and associate professor in the department of applied economics. 

  • Monica McConkey is a rural mental health specialist and licensed professional counselor providing support for the agriculture industry.

To listen to the full conversation you can use the audio player above.

This conversation is part of Call to Mind, our MPR initiative to foster new conversations about mental health.

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