Cultivating Resiliency Webinars


Raising awareness of farm stress is important, but offering some tools to help weather the stress is critical. 
This new interactive online series sets out to help women in agriculture cultivate resiliency by focusing on what they can control in these challenging times and connect them with resources and information that can help them weather stress.

The sessions are 60-90 minutes in length and include a topic for discussion followed by an interactive Q & A period.

All webinars are held at 12 noon Central Time.  Virtual Coffee Chat times may differ.

SESSIONS ARE FREE BUT REQUIRE ONLINE PRE-REGISTRATION

Register for upcoming sessions or view recordings of past sessions below.
You must register to view the recordings.


coffee and computerVIRTUAL COFFEE CHATS

Grab a cup of coffee and join us for an opportunity to listen and share in our Cultivating Resiliency online “Coffee Chat” group.

Participants in our Cultivating Resiliency online sessions wanted a way for women to gather to offer them the opportunity to share what was on their minds related to agricultural stress in a safe place.

RECORDED WEBINARS:

Our State Fair is a GREAT State Fair!: August 26, 2020

August 26, 2020

Let’s have some fun for once! With all of the stress going around and canceled fairs we decided that everyone deserved a break. During this session, we will take a nostalgic look back at the biggest and best State Fair in the country – “The Great Minnesota Get-Together”. On the eve of what would have been the start of the 2020 Minnesota State Fair, Minnesota State Fair Archivist Specialist Keri Huber will be sharing rarely seen historical photos and commentary about the Fair. Following Keri’s presentation Fair aficionados Monica Kramer McConkey, LPC and Cultivating Resiliency Co-Leads Doris Mold and Megan Roberts will lead a discussion on the impact of the cancellation of Fairs on the agriculture community. Fair presentation and Q & A will last approximately one hour followed by 30-minute impact discussion.

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Fill Your Resiliency Toolbox: Using Empowerment Tools, Strategies, and Solutions to Deal with Ag-Related Stress: August 11, 2020

August 11, 2020

New “Tool Talk” Program! During this interactive session, participants will learn about resiliency-building strategies and exercises to effectively cope with ag-related stress. Participants will engage in real-time, in-the-moment, activities that can be replicated in everyday life. This “tool talk” is meant to empower participants in overcoming ag-related challenges and difficulties while increasing feelings of joy, hope, and happiness.

Dr. Brenda Mack, LICSW, is a behavioral health and wellness consultant, trainer, presenter, researcher and Assistant Professor/Field Director in the Social Work Department at Bemidji State University. Brenda worked for twenty years as a program manager, outpatient/in-home therapist and mobile behavioral health crisis responder for a community mental health center in rural Minnesota. Brenda grew up in a farm family in the Red River Valley and is married to a fourth-generation crop farmer.

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Honoring Grief When Making Devastating Agriculture Decisions During COVID-19: June 12, 2020

June 12, 2020

During this session, participants will gain information and resources on the impacts of grief and loss. In the time of COVID-19 when farmers and agriculture communities have had to make devastating decisions with livestock, dairy supplies, and sustainability of the farming way of life, it can be traumatic and have a lasting effect.

Hear from farmer experiences and learn tools and strategies to honor your grief and loss and ways to live through that impact.

About our presenter:

Shauna Reitmeier, MSW, LGSW will share the latest best practices and research on grief and healing from grief. Shauna has over 20 years of experience in the behavioral healthcare and cognitive disabilities fields. She currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the Northwestern Mental Health Center, which serves a comprehensive array of behavioral healthcare services to adults, children, and families across six (6) rural and frontier counties of Northwest Minnesota. Shauna grew up on a farm and is well-connected with rural communities.

Megan Roberts is a University of Minnesota Extension educator. Her Extension work primarily focuses on farm transition, farm resiliency, and women in ag. Her most recent research explored farmer emotional and financial wellbeing. Megan is proud to live and work on a hog and crop farm in southern MN.

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Compassion Fatigue in Agriculture: May 19, 2020

May 19, 2020

Are you noticing that you are exhausted and emotionally withdrawing from your family, neighbors, clients or customers? You could be experiencing Compassion Fatigue. This can be a common experience for those who work with chronically stressed individuals. During this webinar, learn what Compassion Fatigue is, how to prevent it from happening, and strategies to deal with it if you are experiencing symptoms.

About our presenter:

Monica Kramer McConkey, LPC has 25 years of experience in the behavioral health field as a child and adolescent counselor, program supervisor, and administrator. Monica grew up on a farm in Northwest Minnesota and has an intimate understanding of the dynamics that contribute to farm stress and its impact on farm families. Monica is very much in touch with the agricultural way of life.

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When is it More Than a Bad Mood? Depression and Anxiety Related to Pregnancy and Childbirth: April 10, 2020

April 10, 2020

The arrival of a new child is one of the most joyous events of life. However, this joy may be clouded by depression and anxiety which are more common than you think. In this session, we will discuss Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMAD) and will cover risk factors of PMADS which include depression and anxiety that occur during pregnancy and after childbirth. You will learn about the signs and symptoms of when to reach out for help, online resources, and treatment options.

About our presenter:

Natalie Reiter is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in the state of North Dakota. She also holds her Perinatal Mental Health Certification, is trained in EMDR, and is a member of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine. Natalie was born, raised, and lives in a state that prides itself on its investment in agriculture and farm life. Growing up amid constant conversations about the importance of rural life has influenced Natalie and her desire to provide mental health services no matter where they are located. This led Natalie to become Board Certified in Telehealth, allowing her to serve clients without the need to leave the farm.

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How to Manage When you and Your Family's Lives Have Been Upended: April 8, 2020

April 8, 2020

Covid-19 has brought unprecedented changes to our lives. Amidst it, all, farms and families have to keep functioning. Are you working from home? Are you helping your kids learn from a distance? Are you trying to farm or ranch through all these changes? Mental health specialist Monica McConkey and agricultural education professor Amy Smith will join moderator Extension educator Megan Roberts to talk about strategies to learn, work, and thrive from home during a spring planting season unlike any other.

About our presenters:

Monica Kramer McConkey, LPC has 25 years of experience in the behavioral health field as a child and adolescent counselor, program supervisor, and administrator. Monica grew up on a farm in Northwest Minnesota and has an intimate understanding of the dynamics that contribute to farm stress and its impact on farm families. Monica is very much in touch with the agricultural way of life.

Amy Smith is an Associate Professor of Agricultural Education at the University of Minnesota. There, she teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses and conducts research on school and community-based agricultural education, teacher recruitment and retention. She provides support for developing, new and veteran teachers, encouraging work/life integration in order to avoid burnout. Personally, Amy is a single mom to a medically-complex 9-year-old son, Treynor. While she doesn’t have it all figured out, she understands the critical importance of prioritizing things that matter most.

Megan Roberts is a University of Minnesota Extension educator. Her Extension work primarily focuses on farm transition, farm resiliency, and women in ag. Her most recent research explored farmer emotional and financial wellbeing. Megan is proud to live on a hog and crop farm with her husband and young son.

Session host: Doris Mold, Presidents’ Council – American Agri-Women, President District 11 Agri-Women

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Tough Times in Agriculture Panel Discussion: March 17, 2020

March 17, 2020

Join us for an outstanding panel with speakers that have had various experiences related to agricultural stress, mental well-being, and cultivating resiliency.

Panelists include:
• Meg Moynihan, Minnesota Department of Agriculture and dairy producer
• Mark Koehn, former hog farmer and current agricultural assessor with Stearns County
• Brenda Miller, University of Minnesota Extension Educator in Todd County
The panel will be moderated by Emily Wilmes, Extension Educator and Director of the Rural Stress Task Force with the University of Minnesota Extension.

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I Can't Do This Anymore: When Chronic Stress Takes It's Toll: March 13, 2020

March 13, 2020
Presented by: Monica Kramer McConkey

In this interactive session. we will dive into the difference between stress and chronic stress including the impact of chronic stress on our thinking, emotions, and physical wellness. Learn strategies to implement life changes that will counteract the effects of chronic stress and make your days more enjoyable.

About our presenter:

Monica Kramer McConkey, LPC has 25 years of experience in the behavioral health field as a child and adolescent counselor, program supervisor, and administrator. Monica grew up on a farm in Northwest Minnesota and has an intimate understanding of the dynamics that contribute to farm stress and its impact on farm families. Monica is very much in touch with the agricultural way of life.

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Blah! It is Still WINTER!!: February 26, 2020

February 26, 2020
Presented by: Monica Kramer McConkey

Have the darker days and colder temps been smothering your joy? Winter seems to drag on forever. Are you looking for a new outlook but don’t know where to start? Join us on this webinar to learn effective ways of managing our emotions during the tough winter months and even early spring for those of us who live on the tundra or for those dealing with MUD season. Learn what signs and symptoms to watch for in yourself and others, discover effective ways to battle the blues.

About our presenter:

Monica Kramer McConkey, LPC has 25 years of experience in the behavioral health field as a child and adolescent counselor, program supervisor, and administrator. Monica grew up on a farm in Northwest Minnesota and has an intimate understanding of the dynamics that contribute to farm stress and its impact on farm families. Monica is very much in touch with the agricultural way of life.

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Supporting Farm Youth Through Understanding and Intervention: January 24, 2020

January 24, 2020
Presented by: Monica Kramer McConkey

The farm economy of the last few years has been difficult and destructive for farm families. The downturn doesn’t just affect the financial and emotional well-being of farm and ranch owners; it impacts family members as well. Children and adolescents may be living in tense situations with little ability to make sense of what is going on around them.
Rural communities lack resources for youth experiencing family stress and/or crisis. It is critical that people who work with farm kids develop the knowledge and skills to understand, support, and intervene on their behalf in times of stress.

EDUCATIONAL OBJECTIVES

Participants will:
1. Learn about the complex and unique personal stressors common in farming today.
2. Learn about the ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) study, typical developmental milestones in adolescence and the impact stress has on emotional and physical development.
3. Explore relationship-building techniques and interventions.
4. Learn about resources within their communities.

About our presenter:

Monica Kramer McConkey, LPC has 25 years of experience in the behavioral health field as a child and adolescent counselor, program supervisor, and administrator. Monica grew up on a farm in Northwest Minnesota and has an intimate understanding of the dynamics that contribute to farm stress and its impact on farm families. Monica is very much in touch with the agricultural way of life.

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New Year, New Farm Goals!: January 10, 2020

January 10, 2020
Presented by: Megan Roberts

Lack of direction can increase stress on and off the farm. A survey of participants in our 2019 Cultivating Resiliency Questionnaire showed that farm transition was a top stressor.

As we start the fresh new year, in this webinar we will talk about strategies to develop more effective farm goals. Our discussion will be framed around the topic of farm transition, but the concepts can be applied to many situations.

About our presenter:

Megan Roberts is a University of Minnesota Extension Educator in Ag Business Management. Her work focuses on farm transition, farm resiliency, and other risk management topics. She holds bachelor’s and master’s from the University of Minnesota and a doctorate from a joint program from Texas Tech and Texas A&M Universities. Her dissertation at Texas A&M focused on farmer emotional and financial wellbeing. Megan grew up working on her parents’ dairy and continues to be actively engaged in farming with her husband’s family farm.

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Holiday Self Care, Strategies and Tips: December 13, 2019

December 13, 2019
Presented by: Shauna Reitmeier & Monica Kramer McConkey

Do you love the holidays but find them challenging? Do you become Scrooge and say Bah Humbug? While the holiday season can be filled with many blessings, for some it is one of the most challenging times of the year. Whether the loss of a loved one, loss of income limiting your giving or navigating family dynamics, this webinar will give you ideas and tools to help take care of yourself, set boundaries, reap the blessings and find gratitude during the holiday season.

About our presenters:

Shauna Reitmeier, MSW, LGSW, has over 20 years of experience in the behavioral healthcare and cognitive disabilities fields. She currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the Northwestern Mental Health Center, which serves a comprehensive array of behavioral healthcare services to adults, children and families across six (6) rural and frontier counties of Northwest Minnesota. Shauna grew up on a farm and is well-connected with rural communities.

Monica Kramer McConkey, LPC has 25 years of experience in the behavioral health field as a child and adolescent counselor, program supervisor, and administrator. Monica grew up on a farm in Northwest Minnesota and has an intimate understanding of the dynamics that contribute to farm stress and its impact on farm families. Monica is very much in touch with the agricultural way of life.

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Effective Communication: A Strategy to Reduce Farm Stress: December 6, 2019

December 6, 2019
Presented by: Megan Roberts

It’s the time of year where many farm families and friends are getting together for celebrations. It can be easy to let farm and business discussions creep into family time, increasing stress levels.

In this webinar, we will talk about communication styles, generational differences, and how to engage in active listening techniques. Then we will make the case for why you might want to schedule important business discussions, for example, conversations about farm transition, for another time of year.

About our presenter:

Megan Roberts is a University of Minnesota Extension Educator in Ag Business Management. Her work focuses on farm transition, farm resiliency, and other risk management topics. She holds bachelor’s and master’s from the University of Minnesota and a doctorate from a joint program from Texas Tech and Texas A&M Universities. Her dissertation at Texas A&M focused on farmer emotional and financial well being. Megan grew up working on her parents’ dairy and continues to be actively engaged in farming with her husband’s family farm.
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

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An Introduction to Suicide Prevention: November 22, 2019

November 22, 2019
Presented by: Monica Kramer McConkey

With the current difficulties in agriculture and a particularly difficult harvest season, many are concerned about their friends and loved ones.

Feelings of depression, hopelessness, and frustration are common as well as increased substance use and other negative coping strategies. It is critical that everyone have a basic understanding of suicide prevention as a way to support those around you. This webinar “An Introduction to Suicide Prevention” will cover:
1. The scope of the problem
2. Identifying individuals at risk and how to help
3. How to respond when a suicide does occur

About our presenter: Monica Kramer McConkey, LPC has 25 years of experience in the behavioral health field as a child and adolescent counselor, program supervisor, and administrator. Monica grew up on a farm in Northwest Minnesota and has an intimate understanding of the dynamics that contribute to farm stress and its impact on farm families. Monica is very much in touch with the agricultural way of life.

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Grief and Mourning: What you Need to Know: October 25, 2019

October 25, 2019
Presented by: Shauna Reitmeier

Farmers and agricultural communities experience grief in many ways. In this webinar participants will learn what grief is, how it is experienced and ways to work through the grieving process. Shauna Reitmeier, MSW, LGSW will share the latest best practices and research on grief and healing from grief. Shauna has over 20 years of experience in the behavioral healthcare and cognitive disabilities fields. She currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the Northwestern Mental Health Center, which serves a comprehensive array of behavioral healthcare services to adults, children and families across six (6) rural and frontier counties of Northwest Minnesota. Shauna grew up on a farm and is well-connected with rural communities.

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Navigating Conflict and Tough Discussions: Now What? - Applying tools and Concepts in Real-Life Situations: October 11, 2019

October 11, 2019
Presented by: Shauna Reitmeier and Kristine Ranger

Communication is a key factor in building and maintaining healthy farm/ranch family and agricultural business relationships. Inevitably there will be conflict and when avoided or addressed in a way that escalates the conflict it can lead to breakdowns in the relationships most important in having a successful family and/or business. Simultaneously unresolved conflict can lead to added stress, decreased health and it erodes personal resiliency to bounce back from other life stressors. This webinar will use real-life examples of conflicts within farming & ranching families and/or businesses to demonstrate how to put the tools and concepts from previous webinars into practice. You will be able to leave this webinar and begin to apply skills in promoting positive communication and navigate conflict more easily.

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Navigating Conflict: September 13, 2019

September 13, 2019
Presented by: Shauna Reitmeier and Kristine Ranger

Conflict is inevitable and a normal part of life, however, people respond to conflict in many different ways. Too often, when placed in a stressful situation, our knee-jerk responses can get the best of us and damage relationships. In this session, we will delve deeper into the sources of conflict, including triggers or hot-spots, and other behaviors that illicit productive, unproductive, or even destructive responses. At the end of this part two, you will have skills, tools and strategies for navigating conflict in your everyday interactions.

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Navigating Tough Discussions: August 9, 2019

August 9, 2019
Presented by: Shauna Reitmeier and Kristine Ranger

Communication is important in every aspect of our lives. In agriculture, effective communication while farming and ranching is especially important, but sometimes we are reluctant or unable to have critical conversations — especially when we are dealing with tough topics such as farm transitions, financial situations and family working relationships. Strong communication skills are important in maintaining health, well-being and relationships.

Shauna Reitmeier and Kristine Ranger guided a two part series to learn about communication realities, our natural responses to conflict, and why we communicate and act the way we do when threatened or under stress.

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Who Am I if I Am Not a Farmer Anymore?: July 12, 2019

July 12, 2019
Presented by: Shauna Reitmeier and Brenda Mack

Brenda Mack and Shauna Reitmeier address the pain and agony that farmers, family members and others in the ag industry go through when major changes happen. Examples include transition and succession planning, getting out of the agriculture business or dealing with significant health issues that change life as we know it. This session may be helpful those in a primary or secondary role in agriculture who are affected by these challenges. The presenters will address issues regarding self-identity crises, feelings of isolation, sadness and hopelessness. The session will include strategies to deal with major changes in agriculture to help cultivate hope and resilience. And, the question of “In addition to being a farmer, who am I?” will be answered.

HANDOUTS:

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Anxiety, Depression and Coping Skills: June 14, 2019

June 14, 2019
Presented by: Brenda Mack

Brenda Mack, MSW, LICSW shares the signs and symptoms of anxiety and depression connected to the stressors of living a farming and ranching life. The session will cover risk/protective factors and coping skills/strategies. Case scenario examples will be used throughout the conversation. Participants are encourage to ask questions or share suggestions. Please join the session if you or someone you know is dealing with ag-related stress, worrying and/or sadness and you are looking for practical suggestions to reduce symptoms.

HANDOUTS:

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Note: You must register to view the recording

Suicide and the Agriculture Way of Life: What You Need to Know: May 10, 2019

May 10, 2019
Presented by: Shauna Reitmeier, MSW

Death by suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US. Living in rural areas and being in the agriculture business, brings increased risk factors. This webinar will help you identify the risk and protective factors farmers face related to suicide. It will give you tools and strategies to identify if someone you know is at risk, help you to ask difficult questions and ways to access resources to get additional support.

HANDOUTS:

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Note: You must register to view the recording

Putting It All Together: April 12, 2019

April 12, 2019
Presented by: Shauna Reitmeier and Brenda Mack

In this wrap-up session, Shauna and Brenda will summarize the information presented throughout the Cultivating Resiliency series of webinars. Time will be spent answering questions or addressing topics that were not touched on based on feedback from participants.

HANDOUTS:

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Note: You must register to view the recording

Increasing Your Joy and Happiness While Living a Farm Life: March 8, 2019

March 8, 2019
Presented by: Shauna Reitmeier and Brenda Mack

In this session, Shauna and Brenda will focus on increasing joy and happiness in your farm life. Self-compassion, random acts of kindness and expressing gratitude are practical ideas that will be further explored to bolster positive feelings.

HANDOUTS:

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Note: You must register to view the recording

Building and Maintaining Relationships in Stressful Times: February 8, 2019

February 8, 2019
Presented by: Shauna Reitmeier and Brenda Mack

In this session, Shauna will share the importance of relationships in farming and ranching lives. Ways to initiate, maintain or improve communication with spouses, family members, neighbors and community members will be discussed.

HANDOUTS:

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Note: You must register to view the recording

You Can’t Pour from an Empty Cup - How Do You Fill It Up to Support Yourself and Others?: January 25, 2019

January 25, 2019
Presented by: Shauna Reitmeier and Brenda Mack

In this session, Shauna and Brenda will share how stress, when not addressed, can deplete farming and ranching women’s energy and their ability to effectively keep up with their responsibilities. Participants will learn ways to manage stress and come up with ways to prioritize to keep energy high and meet many demands.

HANDOUTS:

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Note: You must register to view the recording

Self-Care Tips to Help Reduce Stress: January 11, 2019

January 11, 2019
Presented by: Shauna Reitmeier and Brenda Mack

In this session, Shauna and Brenda will provide a brief overview of how stress affects our health and well-being. Exploring self-care practices as an option to deal with worrying and stress will occur. Participants will learn about a practical tool to build and implement an individualized stress-reduction plan. The importance of connecting with others as part of self-care will also be addressed.

HANDOUTS:

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Note: You must register to view the recording

Impact of Farming and Ranching Stress for Women 101: December 14, 2018

December 14, 2018
Presented by: Shauna Reitmeier and Brenda Mack

In this session, Shauna and Brenda will define and discuss farming and ranching stress that may be affecting women in agriculture. The presenters will address possible outcomes of excessive worrying and hopelessness. Dealing with stress in healthy and healing ways will be highlighted.

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Note: You must register to view the recording

HANDOUTS:

PRESENTERS

Brenda Mack

Brenda Mack

Brenda Mack is a behavioral health and human services consultant, trainer and presenter, and an Assistant Professor in the Social Work Department at Bemidji State University (BSU). Brenda is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker. Her dad was a third-generation Red River Valley crop farmer and her mom was his partner in marriage for 50 years and helped run their agricultural operations. Her husband, Trent, is a fourth generation crop farmer. Brenda has a special place in her heart for women in agriculture and wants to spark a conversation about the impacts of stress, building resilience, and self-care strategies.

Shauna Reitmeier, MSW

Shauna Reitmeier, MSW, has over 20 years of experience in the behavioral healthcare and cognitive disabilities fields. She currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the Northwestern Mental Health Center, which serves a comprehensive array of behavioral healthcare services to adults, children and families across six rural and frontier counties of Northwest Minnesota. Her background of growing up on her family’s two-generation farm, working the fields during harvest, and experiencing the stressors and joys the agriculture way of life brings has brought awareness and insight to her work within the communities she serves.