The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) Farm Center has received $ 500,000 from the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network to promote, develop and increase resources for stress management and mental health for Wisconsin farmers. This investment is in addition to the $ 100,000 included in Governor Evers’ 2021-2023 budget to provide services including a 24/7 hotline, counseling vouchers and farmer mental health support groups. .
“From unpredictable weather conditions to fluctuations in market prices, farmers face challenges every day that can cause stress and anxiety,” said Randy Romanski, secretary of DATCP. “This funding will help leverage stress management and mental health resources to help farmers overcome challenges and continue to provide high quality, nutritious products for our state, our nation and the world.”
The DATCP will use the funding to:
Promote stress management and mental health programs for Wisconsin farmers by creating, printing and distributing awareness materials. Develop a series of videos on identifying, preventing and managing stress for farmers.
Adapt existing agricultural, financial and mental health management resources into formats more easily accessible to Hmong and Latinx farmers.
Additionally, DATCP will work with partners on resources, including:
The College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison will receive part of the grant funding to tailor the WeCOPE stress management program to a farm audience in cooperation with the Extension Division.
The Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) will receive a portion to coordinate peer support training for 18 farmers through the Wisconsin Peer Specialists Program. Following the training, this group of farmers will establish a statewide support network for farmers using peer support techniques to provide assistance.
Since the mid-1980s, the Farm Center has provided Wisconsin farmers with a variety of services, including financial analysis, farm succession planning, conflict mediation, and consulting with businesses on business opportunities and challenges. industry. The planned grant activities enhance and complement the efforts already made by the Wisconsin Farm Center of DATCP. The Center has connected farmers with mental health resources through several initiatives over the past two years, including pilot programs such as a 24-hour Farmer Welfare Hotline. , 7 days a week (888 901-2558), tele-counseling services and other new educational programs. These programs were funded by the 2019-21 and 2021-22 biennial budgets of Governor Tony Evers.