December 16, 2021

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) encourages farmers and ranchers to consider attending one of three free upcoming couples’ retreats scheduled for early 2022.

“Farm stress can take a terrible toll on marriages and partnerships, and likewise, relationship stress can destroy farms,” said Minnesota Dairy Initiative (MDI) State Director Leah Bischof, who is coordinating the retreats. Rural Mental Health Specialist Monica Kramer McConkey will facilitate the retreats, with additional instruction by Extension Educators Jim Salfer and Emily Krekelberg, as well as Bischof.

Although hosted by MDI, all Minnesota farm or ranch couples are welcome. Couples will explore creative communication skills, personality differences, and learn about resources that can help them reach their goals and manage the stresses of farming and family relationships better. Participants also get to enjoy a mini vacation from the farm together; lodging and meals are included. The retreats are free, although a refundable registration deposit is required.

Dates and locations are:

  • January 21-22, 2022: Faribault
  • February 4-5, 2022: Saint Cloud
  • February 11-12, 2022: Thief River Falls

Each retreat starts at noon and ends at 1 p.m. the following day. Registration is limited to the first 10 couples who sign up, and Bischof encourages interested couples to register soon; two retreats offered in 2021 filled up quickly. Participants must follow COVID-19 protocols in place at each venue.

Find more information and registration forms at

These farm couple retreats are supported by the MDA and Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Program award no. 2021-70035-35461 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.


Media Contact
Larry Schumacher, MDA Communications