Rural Stress Summit to Connect Farmers to Community Resources | Local News


TIFTON, Ga. — The health and well-being of farm families is a priority for many rural Georgia communities. As the backbone of Georgia’s No. 1 industry, agricultural producers face unprecedented pressures including rising input costs, a flood of product imports, labor shortages, work, pandemic protocols for worker safety and more.

A 2019 study from the University of Georgia School of Social Workconducted before the COVID-19 pandemic revealed that the emotional and behavioral health of rural Georgians was suffering.

Recognizing this reality, the United States Department of Agriculture funds allocated for the Georgia Department of Agriculture and UGA cooperative extension to help foster improved local, regional and national collaborations to consistently support farm families in Georgia.

As part of this opportunity, these partners are organizing a one day free summit to immerse yourself in the state of mind of the Georgian farmhouse.

The event, titled “Stress on the Farm: Supporting the Well-Being of Georgia Farm Families,” is scheduled for May 19 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center. Register for free before May 12 at

“This is a complex and multi-faceted problem and UGA Extension is delighted to bring together a diverse team of experts to help us solve this problem. So far, our efforts and educational resources have been very well received by farmers and many have followed up to avail themselves of the advice and other services offered,” said Laura Perry Johnson, head of UGA Extension. “My gratitude goes to all our partners as well as to the agricultural agents and specialists who have the success and well-being of their customers at heart.

Leaders from the American Farm Bureau Federation will share emerging proven practices and recent lessons learned from its Stronger Together: Farm Mindset Platform. Breakout sessions will focus on identifying and tapping into existing community resources and natural supports. Summit participants include:

The keynote speaker will be Ray Atkinsondirector of communications, American Farm Bureau and farm mindset.

Guest speakers will include:

  • David RallstonSpeaker of the Georgia House of Representatives.
  • Anne MontgomeryAssistant Professor, Mercer University School of Medicine.
  • Stephanie Baseydirector of communications and marketing, Mercer University School of Medicine.
  • Anna ScheyettProfessor, University of Georgia School of Social Work.
  • Jennifer DunnBehavioral Health Services Administrator, Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities.

Community leaders are invited to join the conversation to explore how local organizations can engage in this effort and help better serve Georgia farm families. This event is for medical providers, counselors, church leaders, UGA extension workers, policy makers, lenders, local elected officials, county/city municipal staff, pharmacists, school system personnel, agricultural producers, and business owners/operators. agri-food companies.

For more information please contact Mary Bowieconference chair, at 706-542-3824 or, or Marc McCannco-chair, at 706-542-3824 or

Other members of the planning committee and key project partners include Venessa Sims from the Georgia Department of Agriculture, Jennifer Dunn from the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, Lily Baucom from the Georgia Farm Bureau, Anna Scheyett from the UGA School of Social Work, UGA Diane Bales from the College of Family and Consumer Sciences and Andrea Scarrow from the Southwest District of UGA Extension.

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