More than a year ago, dairy farmer Jessica Peters from western Pennsylvania began sharing a project, “Secrets of Ag.”
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Since its launch, “Secrets of Ag” has had nearly 400 submissions, including confessions of adultery and thoughts of suicide. (Jessica Peters)

This project allows people in agriculture to anonymously submit their secrets online and then once a week, Peters reposts them on her social media accounts for the world to see.

Since its launch, “Secrets of Ag” has had nearly 400 submissions, including confessions of adultery and thoughts of suicide. “It’s intended to be a place for people to relieve the stress they feel associated with their personal secrets, while helping those too anxious to share similar feelings know they are not alone,” Peters says.

Each Monday, Peters, the owner and operator of Spruce Row Farm, reshares a secret or two, offering her perspective, support or advice to the person who submitted it. “The only thing I ask is that those followers who respond keep their comments kind,” Peters says. “The support and love left behind by those who follow along have brought tears to my eyes.”

Peters, a fifth-generation dairy farmer, believes people are more willing to share their secrets with her because they know she can relate. “The big problem is that most farmers don’t want to talk to professionals because they don’t understand agriculture.” Unable to offer professional advice herself, Peters provides an unbiased, completely anonymous outlet, which is just what many need to get their secrets that weigh them down off their chest. “This is my whole point and really I was tired of hearing stories of farmers taking their own lives,” Peters adds. “I cannot promise that sharing or reading a secret will save a life, but I know how powerful it can be to just say things out loud.”

May is Mental Health Awareness month and Peters believes the more mental health is talked about, the less the stigma is carried around. “It is OK not to be OK,” she says.

Visit the Ag Secrets homepage to learn more about the project, send in your own secret and read more confessions from your peers.

Thirteen congressional members from New England are urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture to intervene on behalf of farmers left in the lurch by Danone SA, the French food giant that owns the Horizon Organic brand.

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