HARRISBURG, Pa. — Agriculture professionals who work directly with Pennsylvania livestock producers are invited to attend any of the six free mental health workshops happening throughout March and April. The interactive workshops will provide information on stressors that are specific to the agriculture industry and provide hands-on training to help navigate mental health issues in the farm community.
“Most ag industry professionals are frequently on farms and in contact with producers every day, so they are tuned into when times are challenging and producers might be struggling. Typically, ag industry professionals are trained in production agriculture and not human health and well-being,” said Ginger Fenton, PhD, Dairy Extension Educator at Penn State Extension, and one of the presenters at the workshops. “The goal of these workshops is to help prepare ag industry professionals to recognize stressful situations and to be better equipped to provide tools and resources to share with farmers in times of need.”
Six free workshops will be held across Pennsylvania throughout March and April. The events will be held on the following dates:
- Tuesday, March 1 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. – Chambersburg
Hoss’s Steak and Sea House
20 Falling Spring Road
Chambersburg, PA 17201
- Tuesday, March 8 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. – Lewisburg
7701 West Branch Highway
Lewisburg, PA 17837
- Tuesday, March 22 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. – Greensburg
Hoss’s Steak and Sea House
1261 S. Main Street
Greensburg, PA 15601
- Tuesday, March 29 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. – Lancaster
Lancaster County Farm and Home Center
1383 Arcadia Road
Lancaster, PA 17601
- Tuesday, April 19 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. – Mercer
Mercer County Extension Office
463 North Perry Highway
Mercer, PA 16137
- Tuesday, April 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. – Honesdale
Wayne County Extension Office
648 Park Street, Suite E.
Honesdale, PA 18431
During each workshop, attendees will learn about the stressors that are specific to the ag industry and how to recognize signs of stress. They will also be trained on how to assess, approach, and offer assistance to farmers who are at risk and learn about the variety of tools and resources available for farmers.
“These workshops are ideal for anyone who is in contact with livestock producers and is concerned about their mental wellness and overall well-being. This might include lenders, ag agency personnel, nutritionists, inspectors and regulatory staff, veterinarians, educators, consultants, agronomists, and other ag industry professionals or farm family members,” Fenton added.
To register for one of the free mental health workshops, visit www.centerfordairyexcellence.org/workshops or call 717-346-0849.
The workshops are being offered as part of a Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture effort, funded by a USDA Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network (FRSAN) Grant. The Center for Dairy Excellence, Center for Beef Excellence, Center for Poultry & Livestock, PA Beef Producers Working Group, and Penn State Extension Dairy and Livestock teams are partnering to host the workshops.
For more information about the FRSAN grant or to learn more about the initiative, contact the following partners:
- Center for Dairy Excellence – 717-346-0849
- Center for Beef Excellence – 570-687-3150
- Center for Poultry & Livestock – 717-651-5920
- PA Beef Council – 814-623-2698
- Penn State Extension Livestock Team – 484-614-7183
- Penn State Extension Dairy Team – 724-662-3414
–Emily Barge, Center for Dairy Excellence