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South Dakota Ag News Headlines
North Central Region Farm and Ranch Wellness Project Successful
South Dakota Ag Connection - 12/06/2021

Since October 2019, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and extension partners in seven north central states have supported the USDA NIFA funded project "Farm and Ranch Wellness: The Next Steps". This project has provided stress assistance programs and resources to support people engaged in farming, ranching and other agriculture-related occupations in the North Central Region.

"What is truly amazing," said David Brown, ISU Extension and Outreach behavioral health state specialist and project director, "is that despite the pandemic, the participating eight state extension services have educated over 14,000 individuals in a variety of programs directed toward stress assistance during this two-year project. Many websites, programs, publications, electronic media and other resources have also been developed or utilized to assist farmers and ranchers in difficult times."

In Iowa, the key stress assistance programs have included "Stress on the Farm: Strategies that Help" for anyone directly engaged in farming and ranching. Advocates, such as agribusiness professionals, are also now better able to help farmers and ranchers who may be in distress after attending "Question. Persuade. Refer." or "Mental Health First Aid." These two key programs are still being offered and individuals can register at https://www.extension.iastate.edu/humansciences/farm-ranch-wellbeing.

Added Brown, "We are fortunate to continue many of these efforts by participating in the North Central Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Center at https://farmstress.org/. This center is managed by the University of Illinois and has allowed the Land Grant Universities and other organizations in all 12 North Central states to expand their network of resources, trainings, supportive services and connections to help farmers and ranchers know where to turn for help dealing with stress. The Iowa Concern Hotline continues to be a key service within this center and is available to each participating state."

Brown also noted, "Our farmers, ranchers and producers are still being impacted by ongoing financial concerns, even though commodity prices have rebounded, and can still benefit from programs in the North Central Region that provide professional agricultural behavioral health assistance and referral to other forms of support."

For additional information, please contact David Brown at dnbrown@iastate.edu.


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