In a continued effort to help Wisconsin farmers access mental health resources, the Wisconsin Farm Center at the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection is launching a series of virtual farmer support groups.
The support groups are free, and sessions are scheduled to begin in February.
“These groups are designed to bring farmers and farm couples together so they can share ideas, provide encouragement and support each other through challenging times,” says Jayne Krull, director of DATCP’s Ag Resource and Promotion Bureau, which houses the Wisconsin Farm Center.
Support groups will be offered at different dates and times to accommodate farmers’ schedules:
- 8 p.m. on the fourth Monday of every month
- 1 p.m. on the first Tuesday of every month
- 8 p.m. on the third Thursday of every month (for farm couples)
The support groups are open to farmers and their spouses at no cost. Participants can be located anywhere in Wisconsin and must register in advance. Each session will be 60 to 90 minutes long and will be held on Zoom. Sessions will be limited to 20 attendees per session, with a couple counting as one attendee.
Sessions will be led and moderated by peer leaders — farmers who have experienced stress and anxiety while operating their own farms. A licensed mental health provider with extensive experience in serving farmers also will be on hand at each session to offer additional support as needed.
To register for a session or for more information, visit farmcenter.wi.gov.
DATCP’s farmer support groups are made possible by funding provided in Gov. Tony Evers’ 2019-21 biennial budget and approved by the state Legislature. It is one of several new initiatives developed by the Wisconsin Farm Center in response to increased challenges faced by the agricultural industry. Other initiatives launched in 2020 include a podcast, QPR (Question-Persuade-Refer) trainings, an expanded counseling voucher program, a 24/7 hotline and free telecounseling sessions.