HARRISBURG, Pa. — As part of a Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture effort, funded by a USDA Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network (FRSAN) Grant, new stress and mental health resources will be made available to animal agriculture producers across Pennsylvania.
The Center for Dairy Excellence, Center for Beef Excellence, Center for Poultry & Livestock, PA Beef Council, Penn State Extension Livestock Team, and Penn State Extension Dairy Team are partnering to launch an initial survey to study how agriculture producers are managing mental health and stress on the farm.
After determining the baseline of mental health in the Pennsylvania agriculture sector through the survey, the group plans to launch a library of resources designed for farm families and sales and service professionals who work with these families.
“Stress and mental health affect farmers, just like any other occupation. However, a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that farmers are more likely to die by suicide than any other occupation,” said Jayne Sebright, Executive Director at the Center for Dairy Excellence. “This grant is allowing key partners to come together to confront this serious issue and provide resources, guidance, and ultimately, a close community of support that will be readily available for all agriculture producers.”
The FRSAN grant funds will also be used to host several mental health workshops in the spring of 2022.
“Our goal with the workshops is to arm those who are on the front lines of working with Pennsylvania farm families with resources and mechanisms to identify signs of stress, communicate with farmers who are struggling, address issues they are seeing, and connect farms with resources to help,” said Nichole Hockenberry, Executive Director of the PA Beef Council.
Partners expect to release the initial survey in the coming month with the mental health resources made available this winter. Dates and details for the mental health workshops will be announced in the new year.
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