This morning’s edition of On Your Farm, “Wade Dooley Does Things Differently”, was produced and presented from Iowa by Anna Jones.
She joined 35 year old single farmer Wade Dooley on his combine harvester as he tackled the maize crop and discussed what he termed the “psychological trap” of the commodity cycle. He explained that, rather than succumb to the truism of “get bigger or get out”, he chose diversity as the key to success. Thus he is engaged in the process of rebuilding topsoil by crop rotation, planting cover crops which will not be mechanically harvested, and grazing cattle on pasture.
Growing up near Albion (population 525), Dooley was aware of the social pressure to be married and producing children by 25, otherwise “something’s wrong”. He described himself as an anomaly on several counts. On one hand, the agricultural community respected “rugged individualism” in the sense of not asking for help. On the other, his own individualism told him that without “mental health reconstruction” his depression of several months would not abate, and the outlook would be very bleak.
Dooley reached the conclusion that asking for help was not a sign of weakness, and found a therapist:
“It’s kind of a release to say, look, I have a problem and I know what it is…and I need help.”