ITHACA, N.Y. — If you work with farmers or are an agribusiness employee or owner, NY FarmNet is seeking feedback from you. The brief (less than 5 minutes) survey linked below asks how often you discuss difficult topics with your farmer clients, how well you recognize the signs of stress, and how NY FarmNet can best support your organization. This information will help NY FarmNet tailor programming and trainings to specific community needs as they vary throughout the state. Please complete the survey by visiting https://www.nyfarmnet.org/usdafrsanny and clicking the green “Survey” button.
Over the past month, NY FarmNet has collected over 50 responses. From this preliminary data, 50% of respondents report having weekly or daily conversations with farmers about stress related to farms (i.e. fear of losing the farm, uncertain future, health issues, social isolation and difficult family dynamics) that impact their mental health. Thirty-seven percent of respondents are not at all confident in their ability to assist a farmer who is struggling with their mental health. If you haven’t already, please complete the survey to share your own experiences within your agricultural community.
NY FarmNet and the NYS Agricultural Mediation Program (NYSAMP) are working with agricultural and mental health organizations to build programming and trainings geared specifically toward rural and agricultural communities, focusing on Mental Health First Aid, suicide prevention, conflict management, and communication. These programs will help farmers and their larger communities reach out, connect, and help each other during times of crisis, when support can seem hard to find. This project is made possible by funding from the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food & Agriculture. They have invested nearly $25 million in addressing farmer behavioral health on a state by state basis as part of the Farm and Stress Assistance Network (FRSAN) through state Departments of Agriculture.
In New York State alone, 1.3 million residents live in rural areas (USDA-ERS). Those rural areas, for a wide variety of reasons, lack the mental health resources to support their residents. Out of the 62 counties in New York State, 51 have a mental health professional shortage. Sixty have a primary care health professional shortage. By supporting farmers and expanding mental health literacy in rural communities, people are more likely to reach out when they, or someone they know, are struggling. The more mental health is talked about in a safe, respectful, healthy way, the more it is destigmatized.
NY FarmNet helps farmers, farm families, and agricultural professionals navigate times of crisis, growth, and opportunity. Farm clients are assigned both a family and a financial consultant to help address the many issues they may face. All services are free of charge and completely confidential. For more information or to request assistance, call 1-800-547-3276 or visit www.nyfarmnet.org and click the red “Contact” button.
NY FarmNet was founded by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University in response to the national farm crisis in the 1980s. NY FarmNet still operates at Cornell as part of the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics & Management. The Dyson School is part of both Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the SC Johnson College of Business. NY FarmNet is funded by the NYS Department of Agriculture & Markets, NYS Office of Mental Health, the private sector, and individual donations. If you are interested in making a donation to NY FarmNet, visit www.nyfarmnet.org and click the banner across the top. For more information, contact Kate Downes at email@example.com.
This work is supported by 7 U.S.C. 5936, Section 7522 of FCEA of 2008, Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network (FRSAN), Grant No. 2021-70035-35550, from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture.