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Dr. Val Farmer, Ph.D.

As a newspaper columnist since 1984, Farmer has shared concise, ever-wise, down-to-earth information which has enriched the lives of countless readers. His range of topics and the sound values that underpin his columns give practical, useful insight.

Dr. Farmer has become a major voice in the area of rural psychology. His syndicated newspaper column as well as his weekly guest appearance on the national radio call-in program, "AgriTalk News Network," (1994-2002) have provided a way for him to help today's farmers with the challenges of rural living.

Farmer has appeared on Good Morning America, Nightline and on PBS-TV in North and South Dakota. His article, "Broken Heartland," was published in "Psychology Today." Farmer was a featured columnist for five years in "Farm Wife News" magazine and has written for "Women's World." He also has been quoted in "USA Today" and "The Wall Street Journal." His specialty in working with farming and rural issues was recently featured in the August 1996 "Monitor," journal of the American Psychological Association.

Educational Background
Dr. Val Farmer received his B.A. in Psychology from Brigham Young University in 1965. He received a M.A. in Clinical Psychology in 1974 and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology in 1976, both from the University of Arizona.

Clinical Practice
From November 1997 to 2006, Dr. Val Farmer was affiliated with MeritCare Health systems in Fargo, North Dakota.  His clinicial activities currently involve counseling farm families around issues such as marriage problems, family conflict in family farming operations and farm stress.

From February 1992 to 1997, Dr. Val Farmer was in private practice with a group of psychologists. Their practice, known as the Psychological Associates of the Black Hills, is located in Rapid City, South Dakota.

His reputation as a marriage counselor and as a mental health consultant for farmers is well-known in North Dakota, South Dakota and throughout the Midwest.

Newspaper Column
One of Dr. Farmer's best-kept secrets is that writing is his favorite part of his practice. His wife will attest that he loves to spend the wee hours of the morning typing on the computer, formulating ideas for his next newspaper column.

Dr. Farmer started writing a weekly newspaper column about rural mental health and relationships in 1984 in Rapid City, South Dakota. It has since grown into a column picked up by 60 newspapers across the country, mostly in the Midwest. About 40 percent of his columns are based on research by other psychologists and rural sociologists.

Dr. Farmer's column is distributed throughout the United States and Canada. His speciality is family relationships and rural mental health, although his well-researched columns cover a wide spectrum of information.

Radio Show
In 1994, Dr. Farmer became the Monday "guest" on "AgriTalk," a radio call-in program based in Kansas City. He works with producers to plan the one-hour morning show, which runs on 122 stations in 28 states, said Mark Vail, executive producer. "With Val, [the phone lines] will fill up virtually within the first 10 to 15 minutes of the show," says Vail.

Farmer handles calls from his Fargo office while readouts on his computer screen tell him the names of callers waiting, their topics and how long they've been on hold.

Getting farm-related mental health problems out into the open helps remove the stigma that farmers carry, Dr. Farmer said. Lately, "AgriTalk" has addressed retirement, the challenge of small-town living and workaholic farmers. A show on depression flooded the phone lines.

Publicity from the radio show and newspaper column have brought him referrals and enabled him to refer people who live outside his region to psychologists closer to their homes. Dr. Farmer considers his radio and newspaper work a source of help for farmers. He is attempting to open up what has traditionally been a solitary, sometimes isolated occupation. (Reprinted from the article "Farmers turn to Farmer for 'advice in the field'" featured in the APA Monitor, August 1996)

Guest Speaker
A popular speaker at conferences, conventions, and meetings, Dr. Farmer has extensive experience in public address. He is available asa keynote or other speaker for the occasion you may be planning. If you have a specific topic in mind, Dr. Farmer will prepare an address to fit your needs. Question and answer forums are available as well.

Personal Information
Dr. Farmer has been married for 48 years to his wife, Darlene. They
have seven children and twenty eight grandchildren. His
hobbies include gardening with his wife, photography, keeping up with sports news, politics, playing with grandchildren and traveling.