Mental Health and Stress Assistance for Farm and Ag
States are getting additional backing as they work to help farmers and ranchers deal with the stresses of the job.
The USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture announced an investment of nearly $25 million for 50 grants supporting the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network, by way of State Department of Agriculture projects.
Brent Elrod of the NIFA says the state of Georgia plans to put its grant money into multiple projects.
Elrod: “ The Georgia Department of Ag has started the “Georgia Farmer Healthy Mindset and really looking to address outreach and awareness and provide support to increase farmers’ financial literacy so that they can ensure that the bottom line is supported as they move forward in supporting their own operation.”
In Alabama, a $500,000 grant will fund outreach programs by mental health professionals. Mental health professionals in Alabama say exposure and positive stories about treatment will help ease the stigma many people have about mental health. The Alabama program will provide opportunities for farmers, ranchers, and other ag professionals to seek help and treatment they would not otherwise have access to.
Florida’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has a similar goal. Its $500,000 grant will help increase awareness about the mental health challenges and help to normalize seeking help. It will provide farmers and ranchers with a support network.. Florida will develop a marketing campaign to raise awareness. The funding will also help train suicide prevention specialists and help 4H students learn to identify emotional stress in their communities.