Widely dubbed the harvest from hell, the difficult 2019/20 crop year has complicated the lives of Alberta farmers. While hard times weigh heavily, they have produced a growing awareness of mental health issues within agriculture. Producer groups advocate for awareness as farmers and rural communities have opened up, actively embracing the once largely taboo subject. Where individuals were expected to cope on their own with issues such as anxiety and depression, this is no longer so.
Alberta Agriculture and Forestry’s (AAF) Green Certificate Program allows senior high students in the province to select an agriculture-focused career path. The program delivers apprenticeship-style agriculture production training that allows students to complete practical work placements in on-farm operations outside school hours.
Blood dripped from Liz Roberts’s hand. She needed help but her cell phone showed no service. She stepped away from the fence stretcher that had gashed her hand. Driving to get medical help, she stopped several times to phone for assistance without success. From her family’s farm south of Cereal, Roberts arrived 30 minutes later in Oyen, a town of 1,000 hardy souls perched just south of Highway 9 in southeast Alberta, relieved to have remained conscious long enough to find a doctor and stitches for her wound.