USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture awarded $1.92 million in four competitive grants supporting projects to provide stress assistance programs to support individuals who are engaged in farming, ranching, and other agriculture-related occupations. These projects were awarded to four regional entities to help launch the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network. Funding for the grants comes from the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network program, authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill.
- AgriSafe Network, a national non-profit located in Peosta, Iowa, was awarded $480,000. The grant funds are to form the Southern Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network. The goal of the partnership is to deliver customized stress assistance services to the various agriculture populations across the region.
- Iowa State University’s Farm and Ranch Wellness project was awarded $480,000 to develop an online resource database that connects farmers and ranchers to stress assistance programs, including stress hotlines and prescription drug abuse education to farmers, ranchers and their advocates located in the North Central Region.
- The National Young Farmers Coalition, based in Hudson, N.Y., was awarded $480,000 to develop a Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network in the northeast region. To do this, the project will convene a network of farmer service providers in the region to build connection and collaboration, develop an online clearinghouse to share resources and train service providers.
- Washington State University in Pullman, Washington, received $480,000 for its creation of the Western Regional Agricultural Stress Assistance Program. The goals are to establish a network of member organizations, develop a clearinghouse of farm assistance programs and share education.
“This program sets the long-term foundation for a Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network that will provide stress assistance programs to individuals who are engaged in farming, ranching, and other agriculture-related occupations on a regional basis. Our farmers, ranchers, and producers need help and programs that provide professional agricultural behavioral health assistance and referral for other forms of support, as necessary,” said NIFA Director J. Scott Angle.
“Iowa farmers work tirelessly from sunrise to sundown, in the rain and the shine, to feed and fuel the world. Their work isn’t easy, and mental health issues, including suicide, are becoming all too common in our agriculture community,” said Sen. Joni Ernst, chairman of the Senate Agriculture Subcommittee on Rural Development and Energy, and sponsor of the Facilitating Accessible Resources for Mental Health and Encouraging Rural Solutions For Immediate Response to Stressful Times (FARMERS FIRST) Act. “It’s imperative our farmers and ranchers have access to mental health resources and support.”
The Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network was created to establish a network that assists farmers, ranchers, and other agriculture-related workers in times of stress and offers a conduit to improving behavioral health awareness, literacy, and outcomes for them and their families.