Soy farmers stressed, need better broadband, according to ASA survey

(United Soybean Board)

According to an informal survey conducted by the American Soybean Association, soy farmers are seeing increased stress, anxiety and concerns over mental health. In a news release, the organization said that each term came up “dozens of times.”

The survey found 82 percent of farmers were practicing social distancing and 73 percent were moderately or extremely concerned about the impact the pandemic would have on their farm. Additionally, 44 said the pandemic has already impacted them.

In terms of aid, 55 percent were unsure if CARES offered adequate relief while another 40 percent said they were positive in did not offer adequate relief.

“We were struck immediately by how many respondents talked openly about the high levels of stress and anxiety on their farms. Fear at smaller operations that critical workers will get sick, concerns over taking care of elderly parents and children not able to attend bricks-and-mortar classrooms right now, worries over workers scared they will get sick not showing up—and that’s only the important human aspect before you even get into prices, loan assess and aid concerns, input delays and a host of problems hitting tangential industries like pork, beef, poultry, and dairy on which our industry relies,” ASA president Ryan Findlay said.

The survey also revealed the need for better broadband in rural communities with more than 86 percent of respondents saying there was a serious need for improvements on their farm or a neighboring farm.

Overall, 86 people were surveyed with 26 of the country’s top soybean-producing states represented. The survey was an initiative of the 12-person task force that includes members of ASA as well as the United Soybean Board and the U.S. Soybean Export Council.