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You are not alone
Ashley Beying
Ashley Beying

Sometimes, life is heavy. A couple of months ago, I was in the throes of motherhood, having a newborn baby as well as three other little ones. Trying to balance my career, household duties, being a mother and a wife and helping on the farm after my maternity leave quickly became overwhelming. To put it lightly, I was exhausted.

There were days where it felt easier to just stay in bed and not succumb to the pressures of the outside world. I am fortunate, in that when the stress and all the demands of the world seemed too heavy for me to carry, I had a team of family and friends to pick me up and serve as my anchor. I knew I had to lighten my load of responsibilities I was accountable for and also focus on the things that matter most to me.

Working full time during the day and coming home to work full time on the farm in the evening can be all-encompassing, and sometimes self-care can make one’s emotional and mental health be in a better place. For me, that is making sure I get up and exercise, and staying connected with my loved ones. For others, it may be seeing their therapist, eating healthy or practicing yoga.

Living and working in a rural area can be so enriching, but at times it may feel isolating. My husband and I made the conscious choice to live in a rural area, and I honestly cannot think of a better place to raise my children with the supportive community behind us. Rural life can be full of double rainbows and magical sunsets, but also moments where you feel like you are flying through endless clouds of turbulence, going up and down, questioning if it will ever stop.

Between the fluctuating market prices, weather conditions, fatigue and workload farmers and ranchers face, the stress can be daunting and at times may feel unconquerable. I know this narration is not uncommon, as more people than we truly know struggle — although at times one can feel entirely and completely alone. The most poignant epiphany is knowing just this. We are not alone.

Farm Bureau has recently partnered with a service called Togetherall, which is an anonymous online support group for those engaged in agriculture. It provides peer support to those who need others to bring them strength when times get challenging. Because it is anonymous, you may interact with others in the agricultural community who are halfway across the country but are there to provide encouragement and advice. Whether it is working through a farm transition, dealing with a loss, or just feeling overwhelmed and overworked, this medium of support can let you know that you, again, are not alone.

Coming off the heels of Mental Health Month, Kansas Farm Bureau has also made it clear they are actively working to break the stigma around mental health and are recognizing those who are engaging in their rural areas as leaders of the mental health movement. Through the Rural Minds Matter Advocate of the Year and Young Advocate of the Year awards, one can nominate someone who has worked to provide individuals the care they need in communities across Kansas. This may be your local extension agent, a therapist in your hometown or a social worker providing guidance and support. The hope is with this recognition, we as an agricultural community can acknowledge individuals who are dynamic in their ability to promote change and mental health awareness in their neighborhoods. To learn more or nominate an individual, visit

Rural life can be difficult, but I know all too well that tough times make stronger individuals. Sometimes all we have to do is learn to see the rainbow after the storm. 

“Insight” is a weekly column published by Kansas Farm Bureau, the state’s largest farm organization whose mission is to strengthen agriculture and the lives of Kansans through advocacy, education and service. Ashley Beying is an Osage County farmer and rancher.