In the agricultural industry, spring means the start of a new crop year. The sun is staying out longer, the days are getting warmer, and farmers are gearing up for seeding.
But with this also comes the hustle and bustle that’s known with this time of year. Farmers put in long hours, work hard and the stresses of getting every seed in the ground can weigh on them, along with those who work in the industry to help get farmers what they need.
This means farmers and those working in the industry can face a lot of stress.
“Agriculture is an industry with a foundation of deep rural roots, hard work, resilience, strength and community. In order to uphold that image, those traits can also be the industry’s weakness as they become barriers for speaking up and seeking help. Agriculture is also an industry with unique stressors, producers live where they work, making it hard to create a work-life balance and many of the factors needed for success are out of their control.
“Farmers cannot set end prices to cover their rising costs and often link their sense of self-worth to their ability to have a successful year on the farm,” says Megz Reynolds, executive director for The Do More Agriculture Foundation.
Because we know this time of year can be particularly busy and stressful, the team at WinField United Canada wanted to do something about it.
“The Journey For Do More Ag 5 km run/walk came about pretty organically last year when a couple of us could see the burnout on our team and our partners. We saw a need to get people reconnected to one another and with mental health resources so they could cope with the upcoming growing season,” says Alex Jewell, ATLAS marketing manager for WinField United Canada.
In 2021, the Journey For Do More Ag 5 km run/walk gave the ag industry an opportunity to get active and raise awareness for mental health, which The Do More Agriculture Foundation champions.
“The Do More Agriculture Foundation champions mental wellbeing in agriculture and is working towards creating a culture where all are encouraged, supported and empowered to take care of their mental wellbeing. We believe through awareness, education and community we can work together to break the stigma surrounding mental health in agriculture,” says Reynolds.
The ask was simple, sign up, run/walk 5 km, get talking about mental health and check in with your family, friends and co-workers.
“Since we’re not the experts in mental health resources, we reached out to Do More Ag and asked if we could partner with them for this event and raise money to make a donation to their organization,” explains Jewell.
In 2021, the virtual event saw 250 participants from across Canada join in to walk/run, get the conversation going and share the fun on social media.
“Last year’s event was one of the most heartwarming and inspiring things I have ever been a part of. It was a resounding success, surpassing our wildest dreams for participation and fundraising of over $10,000 for The Do More Ag Foundation.
“The best part was that over the course of a few days last year, we felt connected as a team and industry despite it being a virtual event,” says Jewell.
The event had fun shirts, prizes and even some side bets of who could run the 5 km faster.
“Greg McDonald, our general manager, unfortunately lost a bet to Shea Jameson CEO of JGL Group and Hawk’s Agro owner and had to sport a very nice turtle costume around the office. We have a feeling the turtle costume will be back in the mix this year,” jokes Jewell.
For the 2022 event, participants have the same feel as the previous year’s event, just on a little larger scale. There are over 525 participants, new partners came on to support the event, and the WinField United team leaned in even more with Do More Ag to provide participants with a Lunch and Learn to wrap up the event on May 5.
“To ensure everyone participating knows where and how to get the resources they need, Do More Ag’s facilitator Reanna Koob will be giving a one-hour workshop about mental health,” says Reynolds.
This year’s event runs from April 29 to May 4, and the goal is to surpass the donation of $10,000 made last year to Do More Ag. If you’d like to donate, visit the link here
To join in on the fun on social media, search the hashtag #JourneyForDoMoreAg on Twitter and follow @WinFieldCanada for all the updates.
Featuring: Megz Reynolds, executive director - The Do More Agriculture Foundation (left) and Alex Jewell, ATLAS marketing manager - WinField United Canada (right)