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Bonus Episode: Mental Health Conversation Continued

We had so many things to discuss around mental health and stress management in our last episode that we had to keep the conversation going.

In this bonus episode, we dive deeper into the misconceptions and stigma around mental health in the rural community with guests Nathan Brown and Sarah Noggle, who are both passionate about mental health in the agriculture industry.

Together, they share more tips, exercises and resources, while also recounting their own personal experiences where they put their mental health training into real life practice.

Here’s a glance at this episode:

  • [01:12] Even farmers need a self-care day.
  • [03:44] Like poorly stacked hay, you can only pile on so many things before all comes tumbling down.
  • [05:43] During planting or harvest season, sometimes forcing yourself to shut off the tractor to watch your son’s baseball game for example, can allow you to feel rested, recharged, and most importantly, present.
  • [08:17] If you would take out a paper plate and write down all of the things that you are currently stressing about and cross off the things that you can’t control, you’d most likely realize that most are uncontrollable.
  • [09:03] The COVID-19 pandemic has only compounded producers’ stress and isolation.
  • [11:49] Farmers should consider themselves as assets to the farm - just like the tractors and the equipment. Without you, there is no farm. Just as you take care of the things that need fixing on the farm, like an oil change, taking care of yourself is just as important.
  • [13:53] On the other hand, it’s important to remember that you are not the farm. We can easily get wrapped up in the day-to-day of farming and forget to take care of ourselves.
  • [15:58] According to the CDC, the agriculture community is five times more likely to die by suicide than that of any other population in the United States. To put this into perspective, that’s above the suicide rate of veterans.
  • [18:21] One of the biggest misconceptions among male farmers is the “strong, tough guy, nothing-can-hurt-me” persona that makes them reluctant to seek help.
  • [19:09] Entering the suicide hotline into your phone’s contacts might seem like a silly thing to do, but you never know when you might be in a situation where you might need to reach out for someone else. 
  • [23:11] Even as friends and neighbors, it’s important to recognize that we can talk, we can listen, and we can have empathy, but if something happens, that it’s not your fault.
  • [25:17] Within the service agencies of the ag industry, even if it’s just to call about a loan or about equipment that needs to be fixed, you can check-in and be a connection between someone who may need support. 

Connect with Sarah:
Twitter @PauldingOSU
Facebook @PauldingCountyExtension

Connect with Nathan:
Instagram @brownfarms04

Connect with AgCredit :
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/agcredit
Twitter https://twitter.com/agcredit
Instagram https://www.instagram.com/agcreditaca/

Share questions and topic ideas with us:
Email podcast@agcredit.net

Bios

Guest Nathan Brown
Nathan is a farmer in Highland County where he live with his wife and three children live. He is a first generation farmer, farming over 1,000 acres. He is passionate about advocating for mental health as it has affected him personally and professionally. Nathan is heavily involved in Ohio Farm Bureau and enjoys working with members across the state of Ohio.

Guest Sarah Noggle
Sarah has worked as an OSU Extension Agent for over seven years, specializing in farm stress and mental health. She currently farms in Paulding and Van Wert counties with her two children. Sarah is an alumnus of The Ohio State University and previously was Matt’s high school ag teacher.

Host Matt Adams
Matt serves Paulding County as an account officer at AgCredit. He has worked in ag lending for over three years and previously worked in farm equipment sales for 11 years. He and his wife farm in northwest Ohio with their two daughters and son. His favorite part about AgCredit is the people. From the member-borrowers to the internal team at AgCredit, every day keeps getting better. Matt hopes to bring insights to ag lending and some laughs to the AgCredit Said It podcast.

Host Brenna Finnegan
Brenna has been an account officer serving Lorain County for three years. She’s worked in the agricultural industry for over 16 years with experience in livestock production, specialty crop production, seed production and processing/distribution. She grew up on a small family farm raising row crops and cattle. She currently has her own herd of beef cattle that she breeds and sells as show stock calves for 4-H and FFA members. At AgCredit, Brenna enjoys being able to work directly with the local farmers and especially helping young farmers achieve something that they didn’t think they could.

Transcription

Speaker 1 (00:02):Welcome to AgCredit Said It, the podcast for farm newbies and seasoned professionals alike. In each episode, our hosts sit down with experts from across the agriculture industry to bring you insights, advice, and must have information on all things rural living. From farming to finance and everything in between. So let's get to it.

Matt Adams (00:27):Hey, this is Matt. We're going to do part two of our mental health awareness. There's just so much good information. We couldn't fit it all into our first podcast. So we're back here with Sarah and Nathan going over just more personal experiences and different resources that's out there for people. It's just a topic, I really think that it's these personal stories and examples, I think that really can resonate with people that, "People have went through this, you're not alone out on an island." Other people, there's a little bit of a commonality out there.

Brenna Finnegan (01:05):We all have our own personal stories even, I'm sure. I could think of a couple for myself.

Nathan Brown (01:12):Last Sunday, we weren't in the field. We took the day off and I spent pretty much the afternoon laying in bed. And I just needed that self care. I needed that down day to be able to recharge my battery. And of course the wife's running around, "Oh it's Thanksgiving this week, we got to do this, we got to do that. We got to clean the house." And it's like, "I'm done for the week. I have to recharge my batteries or I can't handle it."

Nathan Brown (01:42):And I think I posted something later that night about self care and the next morning she got up and she's like, "Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't realize, or it never dawned on me what you were doing." And I said, "We're at the end of harvest. And this has been one hell of a harvest." Coming up, I've had all kinds of health issues, trying to get labor. And we should have been done a week and a half ago, and I'm still trying to get things finished up, because I can't get guys to show up to work. So I needed that self care day.

Brenna Finnegan (02:16):Well, sometimes it's not even as easy to talk to your spouse even, about all this stuff.

Nathan Brown (02:24):Me and her have a very open relationship, but there are still things where I would rather talk to, I've got a really good friend. Me and him talk almost daily and we share back and forth what's going on. And he is my outlet, more so than my wife, because my wife, she works off the farm. She helps me on the farm when I need help, but that's not her full-time job. She has a 9-5 job in town, and she doesn't-

Sarah Noggle (02:55):And then there's kids and there's sports, and…

Nathan Brown (02:58):Yeah. And I feel bad because maybe I'm not always there for her, but she also has outlets too, that she goes to. And it's healthy to have those outlets, we don't think we just have to open up to our spouse, but we also need to be open and honest with our spouses when things are to the point where, or things can go wrong.

Brenna Finnegan (03:20):I have certain friends I call and I'm like, "I swear, every time we talk it's in tears. What the heck is the problem?" But it is good.

Sarah Noggle (03:27):But it's sometimes it is that. Sometimes it's, "Okay. Maybe I just need to say, someone's listening to me." And I think as I've went through and I've done the different trainings and learned it's taking care of you, is important. And we don't do that enough.

Sarah Noggle (03:44):Whether it's eating something that's good or whether it's resting and recharging a little bit, because we have just went 24 hours or 36 hours. And all of a sudden I've got to make sure my grain dryer isn't shutting off, or your back filling, or the leg's not full and all of a sudden it's a bigger mess because I was so tired that I dozed it off for five minutes. And I think we get to that point in some of the operations that we're at, and those are the stresses that you don't see. I say, it's like a poorly stacked hay, and that’s poorly stacked, it comes tumbling down. And I use that analogy a lot, but I think that's one of the things, you can only pile so many things up and then all of a sudden, it comes crashing down. And then that's when you get even into worse trouble where, it's okay to ask for help, and it's okay to reach out and say, "Hey maybe I need to sleep for five hours."

Brenna Finnegan (04:44):Well, there's a lot of things in ag that we don't control. If we could all control mother nature, we wouldn't be sitting here right now doing this.

Matt Adams (04:54):I kind of look at it too. I look at, I have three kids and my oldest, my daughter, she's seven. And for one, looking at kids, I look at my seven year old and thinking where I was at that age, kids are so more into everything and advanced than when I was that age. I'm a part-time farmer, I work full-time and I farm all night. And after about a month of it, my seven year old just came up and said, "Dad, you never talk to me anymore. I don't see you." And I sat back and thought, I need to be available for her just as much as I do myself, too. Because maybe I'm that outlet for her. She's seven, but she wants that. She doesn't get to talk to her dad. And I think that's a big-

Brenna Finnegan (05:39):An ah-ha moment of who really needs you.

Matt Adams (05:40):Exactly.

Nathan Brown (05:43):Well, we put so much stress on our ourselves to get things done in a timely fashion. And I've really, as my kids continue to get older and they get more involved in things, I have forced myself to shut that tractor off. In the planting season or whatever, if they've got ball games, I may not be there as much as I want. I'd love to have the time to coach, and the current state of our farming operation, I don't have, I can't... Well, I can, I can't make myself yet, commit the time during the spring and the summer, in those busy times to coach. But I will turn a tractor off when their ball game starts. I will run to the ball park. I will sit there for an hour, hour and 15, hour and 20 minutes, whatever. And go back to the tractor.

Brenna Finnegan (06:38):You're going to be that dad that pulls up in the tractor.

Nathan Brown (06:40):Well... but that's okay.

Sarah Noggle (06:40):It's okay to be there in the dirty farm clothes. And you know what, you're there. And I think that's important to talk through and saying, "Hey, it's okay. You're there and you're present," but that also gives you a chance to reflect and recharge a little bit too. And to say, "Hey, I got to see something." It gets some of those good endorphins going.

Nathan Brown (07:01):And I remember, two springs ago, just everything was piling up and we were behind and things were breaking. And I just finally had gotten to a point where I'd had enough. And I called the wife up and I said, "I need a break." I said, "Let's go to Cincinnati. Let's go to Red's game. Let's get away from the farm and give me the afternoon to be with my family, be with my kids. Have some fun with them, recharge my batteries. And that way tomorrow when I come back..." I mean my problems aren't going to leave. They're still going to be there, but I will have fresh eyes to look at those problems and find solutions and be able to work through it, where I'm not ready to pull my hair out.

Brenna Finnegan (07:49):It's giving yourself that moment. I just pulled up this thing and I know it's for something in regards to alcoholism and stuff like that. And I guess they say these at the meetings, but "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. The courage to change the things I can. And the wisdom to know the difference." It's making those two lists, what you can change, what you can't change. And identifying it and running with it.

Sarah Noggle (08:17):And I do a simple activity when I teach this sometimes, and I say, "Just take out a plate, paper plate, and I want you to write down all the things that you're stressing about. Every single thing you can think of." And there's a difference, that male versus female things. "Now, I want you to just cross off the things that you can't control. When the weather stressing you out. And just realize that..." Even just that realization takes that weight off of you a little bit that says, "Okay, I'm not going to keep worrying about that because I can't control it. And yes, I might think about it, but okay, give that to the good Lord to let him take care of that." And I think those are things that sometimes are super hard for you to do, but it's just stepping back.

Sarah Noggle (09:03):Whether it's going to the ballpark or going somewhere. And I think that those are things that we don't do. And I think COVID made it even harder sometimes, you didn't have that outlet of going to church, or seeing people the few times you do get off the farm. Everyone was home and you didn't have a chance to get away. And you don't take those walks around the farm, to truly exercise, or just walk and enjoy you. You're, "I'm going to get this animal, or these parts, or this just different things."

Matt Adams (09:38):We look at even something as simple as, instead of just having a sandwich tossed in the seat of your truck and you grab and go, stop for 25 minutes, sit down, eat something real quick, have the kids there. I think it just helps you reflect a little bit on, "This is why I'm doing this. This is why I'm putting in the hours and the stress. It's for my family." And it helps you resonate a little bit, it hits that little setback button.

Brenna Finnegan (10:06):Well, it's funny how you brought up earlier, the story of "What kind of help am I to my daughter," kind of thing. And the story you just had about showing up at the ballpark or whatever. I can think about a time, I remember being on Junior Fair Board, Chairman of the Beef Department. And my dad before fair was like, "Hey, I'm going to have to go to work for the first few days. I won't be there for steer weigh in." And then all I could think of is, "Oh Lord, please tell me he's going to be there, because I've got a younger brother who likes to pump his chest and him walking the steers to the scale would just freak me out." So, dad was that security blanket for that. And I can remember our Junior Fair Board Advisor was like, "Brenna, I'll be there."

Brenna Finnegan (10:49):And we called him Daddy Dean, because he was like the additional dad to everybody. He's like, "I'll be there. It'll be okay, we'll get the steers weighed, blah, blah, blah." And we had six or seven steers that needed to get weighed. And we were all in sports, too. Halters didn't usually go on until August 1st and we had three weeks to get them broke. These days they're broke as soon as they come out of the womb, I swear. But I can remember standing there at the computer doing the weigh in, calves are coming in, all this thing. And Dean taps me on my shoulder and he's like, "Hey look back. And I look back and my dad is leaning on the post there at the barn." And I was like, "Oh thank you, Lord," because he showed up and he wasn't going to say anything to me. He was just going to be in the background and whatever.

Matt Adams (11:28):It was the sigh of relief right there.

Brenna Finnegan (11:30):That security blanket for that child. There's a lot at stake when thinking about mental health and keeping yourself in check, for not only yourself, but all the other people that rely on you. You have three kids, I know you have three kids, you got two kids. So all these other people need you.

Nathan Brown (11:49):And a good friend of mine, Adrian Disutter. She's over in Illinois, but she's a big mental health advocate, too. And I got to be real good friends with her. But she used analogies that we, as farmers, should consider ourselves as assets to the farm. What do we do with our assets? What are our assets? Our tractors, our equipment. We go and we change the oil. If something needs major, it is not working right, we call the local dealership, "Hey, I need something under the hood fixed," and it's just a great analogy that we need to remember that, without us, there is no farm.

Brenna Finnegan (12:41):Everybody's balance sheets just went through the roof.

Nathan Brown (12:43):I'm going to put myself as an asset here.

Sarah Noggle (12:49):But you know what, there's so many things that if you weren't there, it wouldn't happen. So taking care of you, and keeping you at that top notch is so important. And I think sitting back and looking at those things, I always use that analogy when I'm teaching about the engine light comes on in your vehicle and "Okay, it's just that I need an oil change, and can I drive another 25 more miles, or can I drive another 50." Or "Oh, sure. I can let it go. But all of a sudden, when my vehicle stops and now I'm stranded, that's where I should have got help a little bit earlier and I should have changed that oil." And I think that's important for you to think of about, and I've never heard it. I forgot that Adrian said that that's that asset, but that's such a good comparison that you are, you're so important.

Brenna Finnegan (13:42):Well, you climb under your truck, you climb under your tractor. You have that constant reminder, like you said. It's no different, every time you get climb in to bed or climb out of bed, there should be some form of a reminder to take care of yourself.

Nathan Brown (13:53):Yeah. And that's the great analogy, but also I always want to put on to the end of that analogy is, you're not the farm. Because so many times we get wrapped up into it, if I don't do this, and I don't make this happen, and I don't make that happen, then my farm fails. And that doesn't make you a failure because as we discussed, there's so many things in agriculture, in this world that you cannot control. We're just a bunch of bouncy balls bouncing around and trying to we're trying to head in the direction we want to go, but all of a sudden, the wall jumps out in front of you, and you bounce going in the complete opposite direction. You have no control over that.

Brenna Finnegan (14:35):That's a good workshop. Everybody gets a bouncy ball at the beginning, and then you just toss it and see where it ends up by the time the end of the session's over or whatever.

Matt Adams (14:47):Yeah. Well, in any industry and especially ours, agriculture, you have to be willing to adapt and change. Because we are changing so quickly, so rapidly that we don't even know how quick we're changing. If you just look, how much we've changed in the last 10 years in agriculture, and about in any other industry, it's going to scratch your head to try and how are you going to keep up with this? And I think it's just one thing that we keep being flexible and just willing to take that next step.

Brenna Finnegan (15:26):What are some of the stats? I'm kind of curious as to what are some of the stats in agriculture of, let's just say suicide. Is there a rate out there that...?

Matt Adams (15:35):And is it still increasing our mental health, our suicide.

Brenna Finnegan (15:41):What's the trend?

Matt Adams (15:42):Yeah.

Sarah Noggle (15:43):So some of the stats that we have is, the ag community is five times more likely to die by suicide than any other population in the United States. And that's according to the CDC and that's a pretty alarming rate.

Matt Adams (15:56):That really is.

Sarah Noggle (15:58):And when you start to talk about that, that's above veterans. And I always thought, "Oh yeah they've got a lot of things going on," and we know that suicides are up by over 40% in the last 20 years. And so-

Brenna Finnegan (16:13):40%?

Sarah Noggle (16:14):Yeah.

Brenna Finnegan (16:14):Wow.

Sarah Noggle (16:16):And so, I don't know whether it's related to this or that, there are things that you don't think about those outlets and taking care of yourself.

Nathan Brown (16:31):And if you look at the demographic of farmers again, most farmers are male. And if you look at, I don't have the stats off the top of my head, but if you look at the rate of suicides between males and females, the male suicide is always way higher than female suicide. And it's not... But the amount of attempts, usually there's more attempts on the female side than the male because the males do it with a more lethal way. And I think that adds to the agriculture part of this, but then there's lots of accidents, and farming accidents and stuff. There were stuff that gets classified as accidents, or car wrecks, or you name it, that it wasn't really an accident, or was it suicide?

Nathan Brown (17:32):And I've had people call me and he called me up in the middle of the night and says, "I don't want to be here anymore." I said, "Where are you at? What are you doing?" And I off the top of my head, I don't remember exact, I said, "You need to stop. You need to just, let's talk." And we talked for 20 minutes and finally got him into a place where he felt, and I said, "I need you to go home." And he'd been through counseling and stuff, but he'd been out of counseling for a while. And I said, "You need to go make an appointment in the morning and talk to that counselor." And that adds just that much more dynamic to the suicide rate. Because how do you classify if somebody has a farming accident?

Matt Adams (18:21):Because if you think about it, you think, "Oh, I'm a strong, tough guy, farmer, nothing can hurt me. I'm not going to tell anybody anything, it's my problem."

Sarah Noggle (18:31):Yeah. I think, I always do that comparison to sometimes... I do a speech called Sometimes The Shield's Not Enough." And I think Superman could get so many things until that kryptonite got there. And when you get to that point, I think one of the things is, if you can even reach out. And I think that some of the trainings that we talked about, it's just important just as an awareness to say, "Hey, I can ask these three questions. And dying by suicide, it's a topic that it's so hard to talk about, but if you save one person's life, it's so worth it."

Sarah Noggle (19:09):And if you reach out and I know in our training that suicide hotline, you can text it, you can call it. And the phone number, and I'll just give it right here, it is 1(800)273-8255. And one of the things we did in our training was, "Hey, put a star beside that and put that at the top of your phone," because if you're ever in that situation, is that support that you need to reach out and sit there and be that person to sit beside that person to say, "Hey, let's just call this."

Nathan Brown (19:42):Sometimes that time scrolling, trying to find it is that decision time.

Sarah Noggle (19:47):And I shared in the other episode, that one person, that was the one thing they had us do. And I actually had to call that National Suicide Hotline. And I don't think I could have, because when you ask those questions and it's a real situation, you can practice and practice just like you can practice putting a tourniquet on, and practice and practice. But until you get into that real situation, it changes the whole output of what you're doing. And there's some other nerves, and some adrenaline, and some things going on that, "Thank goodness I had that in there." And so I think programming that in your phone, and you never know when you're in that situation. You don't want to say, "Hey, pause for a minute. I need to look up the phone number for this, or I don't even know where to go." And I think it's just a good practice to have in there.

Nathan Brown (20:36):I had another friend of mine called me. It was in the middle of the afternoon, and he called me up and it was a guy that I connected with through other means. And not somebody that I had a really, really close relationship with, but somebody that we had lots of things in common. And he called me up in the middle of the afternoon, and he started out, he was in a decent mood. And "How's things going, da, da, da, da." And then he started getting real quiet. And I could, again, my QPR training and my mental health first aid training started kicking in again. And I knew something was up. And so I started asking those questions and it turns out that his grandson had passed away two years before that, from cancer.

Nathan Brown (21:34):And his grandson is the same age as my boys. And that's one of those connections that we share is that age. And we finally got down to where he said, "I just, I can't be alone right now. I'm sitting in my shop, by myself." His son, the father of the boy, he was out doing his thing, trying to deal with the day. And so, I shared with him some of those resources and again and I told him, "Hey, I said when you get done with that, you need to find you a counselor." And he got real quiet. And he said, "I can't do that."

Nathan Brown (22:21):I said, "You can. And you will." And I said, "I will come hold your hand if I have to. You live two and a half hours away from my house. I will drive to your house. I will meet you wherever I need to meet you. Why do you think that you can't do this?" And he said that, "Because I had a family member years ago, when we had another family emergency come up, told me that I can't break down. He said, I had to be strong for the family. I was the linchpin for the family. And I couldn't show weakness." And I told him, "I don't know who told you that. But I'm here to tell you, you can, and you need to get help."

Nathan Brown (23:11):I said, "Because if you don't take care of yourself, how are you supposed to take care of your family? How are you supposed to take care of your farm? How are you supposed to take care of your business?" And today he's still struggling, this was a couple years ago when he made that phone call to me, and he's still struggling today. And that's one thing that I have to go back and keep reminding myself is, I can lead the horse to the water, but I can't make him drink. We have to realize that as mental health advocates, as friends, as neighbors, we can talk, we can listen, we can have empathy, we can do all the right things. But at the end of the day, if something happens, it's not your fault. Because you have done everything that you possibly can, and know to do.

Nathan Brown (24:02):And so that's a hard pill to swallow when you are, like Sarah and I, we're both mental health advocates. We want people to get the resources. We want people to get the help that they need. But also we have to realize that…

Sarah Noggle (24:18):You can't always help everyone.

Nathan Brown (24:19):You can't everyone.

Matt Adams (24:19):They have to want to help themselves.

Nathan Brown (24:23):And that's the conversation I've been having with him lately is, "I'm here to hold your hand, as long as you want me to hold your hand. I'm here to listen to you, as long as you want to talk." I said, "But until you want to fix you, none of it's going to help."

Brenna Finnegan (24:38):I think some of the stuff, people think, "Well, this will solve the problem right now." Well, how many other problems does it really actually kickstart? It's the family dealing with that loss, and then, "Okay, now what do we do with this afterwards?" And in some cases, some people think life insurance. In some scenarios, you don't get that because, there's a reason why you don't get that, because you think you're going to hand it to somebody and it ends up creating more problems than what the initial problem was in the first place.

Sarah Noggle (25:17):And I agree, while you can't help everyone, if you are one of those people trying to advocate, it's checking in with that person regularly. And being legitimate about that time, that says, "Hey, if I'm going to check in at 10 o'clock, I'm calling you at 10 o'clock, I'm not calling you at 10:30." You have to be that other support, that you have to be consistent with that. And I think, as you look at everyone supporting that ag industry, I think that's where you can reach out and realize, you start to see some of those things. But being able just to check back in, and you're not calling about a loan, or you're not calling about fixing equipment or anything, it's just, "Hey, I'm being that good neighbor, that I'm just going to check in on you."

Brenna Finnegan (26:01):Now, being in your role as an educator for a county. Nathan's got this personal connection with people that they feel comfortable giving him a call. Have you been in that scenario where somebody has called you saying, "Hey, I'm just not feeling right."

Sarah Noggle (26:18):Yep. I had a lot during COVID. I did a morning coffee shop and I would always share my cell phone number. And I was surprised at how many people, not even from my county, that we're starting to reach out. And just saying, "Hey, I might need you just to listen." And sometimes, if that's the preventative that we can say, "Hey, here are the things, or I'm that non-biased source of information, or here's the pros and the cons of your situation. I heard you say this and maybe it's this."

Sarah Noggle (26:51):And so helping them to be able to step through that. I think once people start to know that you're advocating for that, there's calls more and more. And so it not like my job is a 8-4:30 type of job. It's a "I'm there and I'm available." And I think with the social media, with everything. I have different people reaching out at different times, and I think it's just being able to connect with them and just to say, "Hey, let's follow up with you. Let's check in. Let's connect the dots for you."

Matt Adams (27:24):And I think that's a great thing to keep in mind, is how COVID has affected this. COVID, we thought was going to be a short lived experience that it's continu-

Brenna Finnegan (27:34):It's going on two years.

Matt Adams (27:36):... Going on two years and it's affecting everybody differently, but I think that's just adding to that next level of stress. If you were on the verge, maybe you add that on top. Now you're looking for that relief outlet. You're looking for that safety net out there.

Nathan Brown (27:53):No, you're very, very true. And that's something I've been saying a lot here lately. We're used to running and being, and being social people. We got locked in our own four walls and forgot to how to care about anything that's outside those four walls, with COVID. And you get the stress of being locked up, which some people... Myself, I found more solace in my family. And it made me realize that I needed take those times for the ball games, and take those times for those other things. But as you said, COVID things start opening back up and then certainty of where we go. And now if you look at the situation we're in right now with inflation, and jobs, and everything else that's going on.

Nathan Brown (28:43):Again, we're back to, we don't care about our neighbors. We don't care about our friends anymore. And we have to learn to have empathy. We have to learn to love each other again. And just driving down the road, you can see just how mean and ugly this COVID has turned people. And I'm pretty good at ending podcast, by whoever I'm podcasting with or whatever "Hey, man, I love you." Board meetings, I've got half the State Farm Bureau Board, when I leave Farm Bureau Board, get phone with them, "Hey man, love you." Let them know that. And you laugh, but-

Brenna Finnegan (29:26):No, it's really funny that you say that, because my friends and I, we say it too. And actually one of my friend's daughters was like, "Do you really..." you could hear her in the background, like, "Do you really love her?" And it's like, "No, I love her because she's one of our people, she's part of our group." And I'm like, "You need to care."

Nathan Brown (29:43):Yeah.

Sarah Noggle (29:46):It's a way to say I care about you. And I genuinely care.

Matt Adams (29:50):Well it's even some little things I'll notice driving around our community on the back roads, I'll pass a neighbor and always wave to him in the pickup. He didn't wave back. Why? He's always waved

Brenna Finnegan (30:02):Make you want to turn around, and be like, “What did I do?"

Matt Adams (30:03):Yeah. Personally, What did I do? Is he ticked off at me? I put some mud in from his driveway or something, but maybe that's a side where he's just not himself.

Sarah Noggle (30:17):Or we haven't had that connection.

Matt Adams (30:17):Yeah.

Nathan Brown (30:17):And that's what we need to make time to go visit with people. I know everybody's concerned with COVID, and this variant and that variant. But man, make time for people because the number one asset you have around you, is the people around you.

Matt Adams (30:34):It's kind of funny. Even our small community church, even though things were, it is the older ladies. They'll still send out birthday cards and Christmas cards, to all of our congregation. I think it's, even to me, something as simple as that, where people are thinking of you. Just something little like that.

Nathan Brown (30:51):You let somebody know that they matter. That if they're having a bad day, just that one little glimmer hope can turn everything around.

Brenna Finnegan (31:02):I've actually started writing, getting a card and like, "Hey, what's going on?" Even just initiating a conversation and putting it in the mail, because sometimes maybe that's your only, "Hey, I'm thinking of you, but I haven't had..." Yes, we all carry these little computers around in our hands all day long, every day. But sometimes you don't... I have to write a list of who I need to call back, on a daily basis. So to remember to call somebody out of the blue, it gets harder and harder.

Matt Adams (31:35):It does.

Brenna Finnegan (31:36):I have made that point to start sending a Thinking of You and popping it in the mail.

Matt Adams (31:42):I'll be expecting my card in the mail next week.

Brenna Finnegan (31:44):Let me write that in the calendar to do it now.

Nathan Brown (31:48):It does. But if you make it a part of your weekly routine of sitting, take 20 minutes on a Friday morning and call somebody. Or I've done many things over the years, send 10 text messages or…

Brenna Finnegan (32:07):You copy paste the same one. Even though, you mean it the same.

Nathan Brown (32:10):Hey, no. I've got videos that I would, there for a while. I was recording a video every Friday morning, and I would record one video and say "I'm thinking about you. I know things are tough," whatever was laid on my heart that morning.

Brenna Finnegan (32:28):You put it online even, for a period of time.

Nathan Brown (32:30):I did. And I wouldn't make it over a minute long, and then I would text it to 10 random people out of my phone. And just that little thing, and the responses I got back from people just, it would make you tear up some of the responses you would get from that. Because just those little things, you don't realize how much that means to somebody until you do it. And say, if you can figure out and make a routine. And like I said, you don't have to record 10 different messages for 10 different people, but make it…

Brenna Finnegan (33:09):It changes somebody else's state of mind for a period of time. So even if they're in that mode of, "Things aren't going right, I'm over this, I want to be done." and they randomly get a message like that, that's a sign of, I won't say we believe in signs or anything, but that's a sign of, things will be better or whatever.

Matt Adams (33:32):It's one life. We're all in this together. You go back and you tell somebody you love them. It's, even for a guy, I'm one that does not show his emotions very much at all. And you can ask my wife and kids that. But it's something I don't tell people enough, and I really should.

Brenna Finnegan (33:53):I just had that conversation actually this past week. We were talking about how many times have you seen your father cry? I can count four, that we know of.

Matt Adams (34:02):And you think, "You're not supposed to see your dad cry."

Brenna Finnegan (34:04):Two of them involved Dale Earnhardt.

Matt Adams (34:08):I can contest with him there.

Sarah Noggle (34:10):That's a big deal.

Matt Adams (34:12):It's been great information, and feel free to reach out to any of us with anything. Questions or anything, don't hesitate, just feel free to reach out to us.

Speaker 1 (34:24):Thank you for listening to AgCredit Said It. Want to talk Ag in between episodes? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at AgCredit. For more tips and resources, visit AgCredit.net, and be sure to subscribe to the show on your favorite podcast player. Catch you next time.