ITHACA, N.Y. — In an effort to continuously support New York’s agricultural community – including farmers, families, and agribusiness employees – NY FarmNet can host virtual trainings and webinars focused on farm stress management, mental health literacy, and farm transition planning.
Farming and working in agriculture is challenging – from tariffs to crop yields, herd health to government regulations – and adding a global pandemic has only added to the list of daily stressors. With COVID-19 still impacting everyday life, NY FarmNet can help by training individuals in how to identify stress in yourself and others, as well as how to connect with additional resources. Trainings can be conducted online, via Zoom.
Through Michigan State University Extension, NY FarmNet staff can guide farmers or those who work with farmers through two separate courses – “Weathering the Storm in Agriculture: How to Cultivate a Productive Mindset” and “Communicating with Farmers Under Stress,” respectively. These courses are a great first step towards addressing farm stress. The programming is currently being used by Farm Bureau, the National Farmers Union, Farm Credit, and the United States Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency.
NY FarmNet consultants and staff are also trained in both Adult and Youth Mental Health First Aid. Mental Health First Aid programs are courses that teach people how to identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. It educates participants on how to reach out and provide initial support to someone who may be developing a mental health or substance use problem or experiencing a crisis. Mental Health First Aid helps break down the stigma associated with conversations around mental health and substance use problems by improving understanding and providing an action plan, as well as identifying baseline language that is appropriate. Attendees are given an action plan that teaches them how to safely and responsibly identify and address potential mental health challenges or substance use disorders. The program first started in Australia, and is now found internationally. To learn more about Mental Health First Aid, visit, www.mhfa.org.
NY FarmNet has also tapped into its vast resource bank to offer transition and succession planning workshops. By utilizing existing relationships and networks within Cornell Cooperative Extension system, NY FarmNet consultants, extension educators, and agricultural attorneys have provided informational sessions and trainings on how to plan for your farm’s future. Recognizing that farms vary from one operation to the next, and by providing attendees with roadmaps of what to look for and anticipate, can help attendees navigate potentially challenging conversations.
“The two-day Successful Farm Transition training that NY FarmNet and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Delaware County offered in March to 34 participants had a big impact on local farmers,” said Mariane Kiraly, Farm Business Educator for CCE Delaware. “FarmNet was responsive and adapted presentations to Zoom quickly and efficiently during the start of New York Pause. The feedback from farmers was enthusiastic and grateful. The program also helped me in my work with farmers to continue the work and momentum started in March.”
To learn more about any of the virtual programming that is available through NY FarmNet, or to schedule a webinar for your organization, contact Kate Downes, outreach director, at email@example.com or 1-800-547-3276.
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