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.
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.
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.
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)