Billings, Mont.- R-CALF USA has announced the launch of “No Rancher Left Behind,” a rancher/farmer conversation and awareness campaign. The campaign is a collaboration between R-CALF USA and Coy Young, a Missouri cattle rancher who recently testified before Congress about the stresses he faces as a cow-calf producer during this time of chronically depressed cattle prices and high input costs.
“R-CALF USA stands firm in fighting for the independent U.S. cattle producer in all facets. So many of America’s farmers and ranchers are struggling, but it’s important for them to know they are not alone in this fight,” said Jaiden Moreland, R-CALF USA Marketing Coordinator.
“The chronically dysfunctional cattle market has rendered many independent cattle producers unprofitable for going on eight years. We’ve lost untold numbers of them even before their input costs began skyrocketing,” said Bill Bullard, R-CALF USA CEO.
“This broken market/high input cost combination will create a perfect financial storm for many more independent cattle producers, and we don’t want them isolated from fellow producers who have or who are experiencing similar challenges,” Bullard said.
"No Rancher Left Behind” is set to feature informational graphics on social media and a resource webpage with hotline numbers and links to other helpful information, but perhaps most notably, weekly support group style, virtual meetings for ranchers to gather and converse in a safe place.
Young came up with the idea for the campaign after struggling with his own market-related financial challenges and recently shared his story with the New York Times.
“If we can help each other when we’re hurting and in need, that's the greatest accomplishment that could ever come from this campaign and these meetings,” said Young. “I hope we come together to talk about the issues that farmers and ranchers are currently facing and can be there for one another because we are all going through the same types of things.”
According to a 2017 study by the University of Iowa, those involved in agriculture, had the highest suicide rate of all occupations from 1992 to 2010. More recently in 2020, the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention noted that when compared to other occupations, farmers are among the most likely to die by suicide.
Young shared that the CDC also reports that suicide among workers ages 16 to 64 has increased 34% and farmer suicides are 1.5 times higher than the national average. He also learned these numbers could be higher as some farm suicides could be ruled farm-related accidents.
“With the majority of farmers and ranchers being male, there's a lot of things that aren't discussed. Men have their pride and when you're on the verge of losing your family legacy that your father and grandfather had built for multiple generations before you, it's detrimental and some see no other way out,” said Young.
Moreland said R-CALF USA encourages ranchers and farmers to participate in these meetings and hopes the meetings will provide a sense of community and provide a space to vent, talk and be surrounded by support from their peers.
“As an organization concerned for our industry’s future, we must do all we can to support our nation’s cattle farmers and ranchers during these challenging times,” said Bullard.
“I was once in a place where I didn't think there was another way out. I was at my end, and to be able to be there and talk with others, that's something,” said Young. “The power of conversation and empathy for one another is a great and powerful tool to help lift each other up in times of need.
“When you're going through something as traumatic as having to sell all your cattle and start a different life when raising cattle is all you've done your entire life, it plain sucks and it's hard,” said Young.
All ranchers and farmers are welcome to attend the virtual meetings, which will be led by Young and held every Wednesday at 7 p.m. MDT on Zoom, beginning May 18. Contact NRLB@r-calfusa.com to get meeting details or learn more at www.r-calfusa.com. Struggling ranchers, farmers and their families and friends are encouraged to visit R-CALF USA’s “No Rancher Left Behind” resource page and R-CALF USA’s social media for more information on the meetings, various suicide hotline phone numbers and other areas for support.
Jared, G. (2019, May 14). CDC: ‘Farm stress,’ suicides a rising rural health concern. www.talkbusiness.net. Retrieved May 13, 2022, from https://talkbusiness.net/2019/05/cdc-farm-stress-suicides-a-rising-rural-health-concern/
Snee, T. (2017, June 12). Long after ’80s farm crisis, farm workers still take own lives at high rate. https://now.uiowa.edu. Retrieved May 13, 2022, from https://now.uiowa.edu/2017/06/long-after-80s-farm-crisis-farm-workers-still-take-own-lives-high-rate