AMES, Iowa — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture has announced a grant investment of more than $7 million to the North Central Region to support U.S. farmers and ranchers.
“Years before the 2020 pandemic and the derecho, we were seeing increasing stress-related concerns in the agriculture community,” said David Brown, behavioral health state specialist for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. “This funding will truly benefit our agriculture producers in Iowa and at the right time.”
ISU Extension and Outreach was the lead recipient of the 2019 Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Program, which continues to support farmers and ranchers in eight North Central states. This year, USDA-NIFA awarded a nearly $7.2 million North Central Region Grant to the University of Illinois, which will lead the North Central Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Center, a 12-state collaborative, including Iowa, that will create and expand stress management and mental health resources and services to agricultural producers and stakeholders in the North Central Region. ISU Extension and Outreach will continue to be a key partner and subcontractor and has been awarded $680,000 of the total grant investment over the next three years.
To better serve Iowa’s agriculture producers, ISU Extension and Outreach will be using some of these funds to collaborate with the Iowa Center for Agriculture Safety and Health. One aspect of the project will be the joint development of a training for behavioral healthcare and healthcare providers, to teach them how to better serve their agriculture clientele. Other funds will be used to support the Iowa Concern Hotline as a regional resource for the participating states.
“Our providers need a better understanding of agriculture and the unique stressors facing Iowa producers. We are hoping that this might also reduce one of the barriers producers might face in seeking behavioral health care,” Brown said.
For more information, please feel free to contact David Brown at email@example.com or at 515-294-0860.
Iowa Concern, offered by ISU Extension and Outreach, provides confidential access to stress counselors and an attorney for legal education, as well as information and referral services for a wide variety of topics. With a toll-free phone number, live chat capabilities and a website, Iowa Concern services are available 24 hours a day, seven days per week at no charge. To reach Iowa Concern, call 800-447-1985; language interpretation services are available. Or, visit the website, https://www.extension.iastate.edu/iowaconcern/, to live chat with a stress counselor one-on-one in a secure environment. Or, email an expert regarding legal, finance, stress, or crisis and disaster issues.
Farm and Ranch Wellbeing. Eight north central states collaborated to offer a clearinghouse of resources for the farm and ranch community. The current site can be accessed online at https://www.extension.iastate.edu/humansciences/farm-ranch-wellbeing. This site offers information on programs, hotlines, websites, publications and more that can benefit farmers and ranchers in these challenging times. This site also can be used to access the farm stress related websites for each university extension service in the North Central Region.
— David Brown, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach
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