Friday, July 1, 2022

Earthquake-related stress

A Canterbury University researcher has found stress to be one of the greatest challenges for farmers following the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes.

Zach Whitman said farmers have cited increased workloads, disrupted sleep, staff welfare concerns and exposure to aftershocks as the major causes of stress.

“Our surveys have also reported that it took some time for the effects to take hold. From October 2010 to June 2012 the reports from farmers citing stress as the greatest challenge doubled,” he said.

More than 50 farming organisations were surveyed in the study.

The survey asked farmers to describe how their business was disrupted, what resources were helpful after the earthquakes, who they relied on for help, how their bottom line has been affected and what was the single greatest challenge they faced.

“We wanted to research the impact on farms because we were unsure how earthquakes affected farming organisations,” Whitman said.

“In most cases, the farms’ main income-generating assets such as pasture and animals were not disrupted. Production and income remained relatively unaffected. As a result, there was not much financial legacy of the earthquake-related impacts by 2012.

“Comparatively, these effects contrast to what can occur during a major drought event where decreases in feed production force de-stocking during non-optimal times. This can have a legacy for months to years. This scenario has been forecast by many commentators following the recent drought throughout New Zealand.”

The study found farming organisations often used their informal networks for both organisational and psychosocial support.

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