April 16, 2021

Addressing military needs in agriculture

Resiliency is key

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Veterans have a long history of service to our country through military service and agriculture alike.

A 2017 U.S. Department of Agriculture report identified that 370,019 men and women agriculture producers claimed the title of U.S. veteran, with 294,974 of them having spent more than 10 years on their farm.

Veterans with disabilities have unique characteristics and needs that are important to understand, said Crystal Kyle, biological science specialist, during a webinar hosted by AgriSafe.

“Resilience is key,” she said. “Resiliency can guard against PTSD.”

High resiliency means higher self-esteem, trust, ability to be resourceful and self-efficacy. However, lower resiliency leads to distrust, social problems and psychological disorders.

Understanding what veterans are going through is key.

“Misunderstanding creates mistreatment and distrust,” Kyle said. “Illiteracy and lack of awareness can cause distrust.”

Misconceptions, stigma, feeling of rejection, lack of trained personnel and other issues can also lead to distrust.

When in doubt, use the Golden Rule, suggested Kyle.

• Avoid the “you’re so inspirational” remarks.

• Whatever you do, don’t talk louder than your normal voice.

• Ask before helping.

• Don’t lean on wheelchairs or other assistive technologies.

• Introduce yourself when speaking with the visually impaired.

• Refer to the person first, not the disability.

• View others as people, not impairments.

• Focus on the person at hand and their individual personality.

For more resources visit www.agrability.org and www.agrisafe.org.

Erica Quinlan

Field Editor