The Farm Center at the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) is joining a new 12-state effort that aims to provide education and resources to farmers and other agriculture service professionals.
The purpose of the program is to mitigate farm stress and reduce suicide risk in rural communities.
Joining UW-Madison's Division of Extension, the Farm Center will create farmer focus groups, develop mental health provider training, and support other activities focusing on farmer mental health.
“We are excited to join UW-Madison’s Division of Extension in this unique collaboration to help farmers and their families overcome mental health-related challenges,” said Jayne Krull, director of the DATCP’s Wisconsin Farm Center. “Although the Farm Center offers many services designed to help farmers resolve a variety of challenges, we’ve been getting more and more calls from farmers in distress, and we continue to seek funding and resources to address this growing need.”
The multi-state initiative is supported by a $7.2 million Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network grant from the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture over several years.
Wisconsin will be awarded over $400,000 to support the program efforts.
“As stress among farmers continues to run high, we are excited to work with the Wisconsin Farm Center to help farmers and their families overcome mental health-related challenges,” added Joy Kirkpatrick, an outreach specialist at the UW Center for Dairy Profitability. “Low prices and uncertainty for many primary farm and food products over the last five years have created hardship and stress for many in rural communities, and the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic has only compounded those stress levels.”