National Poll Shows COVID-19 Taking Heavy Toll on Farmers’ Mental Health


A strong majority of farmers say the pandemic has impacted their mental health according to a new poll released by the American Farm Bureau.

More than half of the respondents said they are personally experiencing more mental health challenges than they were a year ago.

“My takeaway from this survey is that the need for support is real and we must not allow lack of access or a ‘too tough to need help’ mentality to stand in the way,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “We are stepping up our efforts through our Farm State of Mind campaign, encouraging conversations about stress and mental health and providing free training and resources for farm and ranch families and rural communities. The pandemic added a mountain of stress to an already difficult year for farmers and they need to know that sometimes it’s OK not to be OK, that people care, and that there’s help and hope.”

The results of the poll clearly show that the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting rural adults and farmers in many ways. Key findings include:

  • Two in three farmers/farm-workers (66%) say the pandemic has impacted their mental health.
  • Rural adults were split on COVID-19’s impact. Half of rural adults (53%) say the pandemic has impacted their mental health at least some, while 44% say it has not impacted their mental health much or at all.
  • Younger rural adults were more likely than older rural adults to say the pandemic has impacted their mental health a lot.
  • Farmers and farm-workers were 10% more likely than rural adults as a whole to have experienced feeling nervous, anxious or on edge during the pandemic (65% vs. 55%).
  • The percentage of farmers/farm-workers who say social isolation impacts farmers’ mental health increased 22% since April 2019, a significant finding given the long hours many farmers work alone.
  • Half of rural adults (52%) aged 18-34 say they have thought more about their mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic, more than other age groups.
  • Three in five rural adults (61%) say the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted mental health in rural communities. Farmers/farm-workers were more likely than rural adults to say COVID-19 has impacted mental health in rural communities a lot (37% vs. 22%).

AFBF will host a session at its 2021 Virtual Convention titled Farm State of Mind – Responding to the Challenges of Rural Mental Health. The session will feature diverse perspectives on the issue of rural mental health and highlight the Farm Bureau’s efforts to respond to this key moment in agriculture. Visit for more info

If you or someone you know is struggling emotionally or has concerns about their mental health, visit the Farm State of Mind website at where you can find crisis hotlines, treatment locators, tips for helping someone in emotional pain, ways to start a conversation and resources for managing stress, anxiety or depression.