Document Type


Publication Date



children, umemployment, farm/ranch families

Extension Number

ExEx 14064


Consumer Sciences


Off-farm employment provides over half of the income of many farm and ranch families (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 1999). They have come to depend on the extra income. So when an adult quits the town job or is laid off, the consequent stress spreads to everyone in the family. Layoffs can happen just at the time the farm family most critically needs that extra income. In South Dakota in particular, the economic health of all communities, big and small, is tied to the agricultural economy. If the latter falters because of drought, blizzards, or other natural disasters, workers in the off-farm sector feel the effects too. If unemployment occurs in your family, you need to explain what’s happening, and likely to happen, to your children. Be honest.


Updated July 2006