After losing a friend and fellow farmer to suicide, a third-generation farmer from Lakeview, Darrin Davis, is hoping the stress hanging over farmers changes. In a new “Good Roots” segment on PBS, Davis shares how he is getting farmers in his community to talk through issues when they’re feeling down and guide them toward helpful programs.
“Good Roots” premieres Friday, Nov. 18, during “Arkansas Week” at 7:30 p.m. on Arkansas PBS. You can catch the livestream at myarpbs.org/watch.
Suicide rates among farmers have risen 40% – six times the national average – within the last two decades, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, suicide is rarely talked about within the farming community.
A mixture of long hours, unpredictable weather, rising fuel costs, aging equipment and the high price of new technologies has contributed to turning people away from farming. Despite this, Davis, who owns Lakeview Farms, has been through the ups and downs of the industry.
“Farming is not very forgiving, but this is a passion of mine,” Davis said. “I love it and wouldn’t rather do anything else.”
During bad and good years, Davis wakes up early, works long hours and makes crucial decisions, but he has taken everything in stride and has been able to bounce back by preparing for the bad when the times are good.
Now, he’s taking things he’s learned and trying to make an impact within the farming community.
“Good Roots,” produced in partnership with Arkansas Farm Bureau, seeks to shine a light on Arkansas’s rich rural culture and communities. Segments focus on the real stories of rural life, while addressing relevant topics like agriculture, health care, the economy, technology, policy and more. The segment airs the second Friday of each month during “Arkansas Week.” Additional information is available at myarpbs.org/GoodRoots.