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Welcome
 
   
 

 

Greetings!  

As 2020 draws to a close, we reflect on the past year and make plans for the future. The past year has been a challenge. COVID-19 introduced new stressors for agricultural producers and workers in the North Central region, as agriculture is an essential business and many experienced supply chain disruptions. The pandemic also challenged Cooperative Extension and our partners to deliver programs and resources in new, innovative ways. We are so appreciative of the North Central Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Center’s collaborators, partners, and supporters for their dedication to continuing to provide educational programs, services, and resources in this challenging time. 

As we prepare for 2021, we are hopeful to see an end to the pandemic and a return to normal. However, we are reminded the pandemic is just one of the many stressors agricultural producers experience. Unpredictable commodity prices, unanticipated market swings, and unfavorable weather will threaten the mental health of farmers, ranchers, and agricultural workers even as most of us resume our typical work activities. The North Central Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Center will continue to develop and expand stress management and mental health resources and services for producers and workers in the North Central region through the pandemic and beyond.  

We have big plans for 2021! To keep up with our developments, please click “subscribe” at the bottom of this message. Please contact Josie Rudolphi and/or Courtney Cuthbertson with questions. 

We wish you a happy, safe, and restorative holiday season and look forward to all that we will accomplish together in the new year.  

Sincerely,

Josie Rudolphi and Courtney Cuthbertson  
University of Illinois Extension 

 
 
 
Key Network Collaborator Update: South Dakota State University Extension
 
   
 

 

South Dakota State University (SDSU) Extension established a state-wide task force to conduct a comprehensive needs assessment on farm stress and mental health.  The state-wide task force is composed of representatives from ten agricultural organizations including the following: South Dakota Department of Agriculture, Wheat Commission, Sheep Growers Association, Pork Producers Council, Soybean Association, Stock Growers Association, Grassland Coalition, Soil Health Coalition, Farm Bureau, and Cattlemen’s Association.  The task force met virtually in November for a two-day retreat. 

The group identified major concerns among agricultural producers and their families and discussed current issues related to farm stress and mental health.  Four major themes (finances, weather extremes, work/family dynamics, and mental health) were determined as the most important concerns to explore in focus groups and key informant interviews.  Target populations for each major theme were identified, and recruitment plans for focus groups and key informant interviews were discussed.  Focus groups will be completed in the Spring.   

Please visit https://extension.sdstate.edu/tags/farm-stress for SDSU Extension farm stress resources and  https://www.sdstate.edu/news/2020/11/sdsu-extension-assess-farm-ranch-stress-statewide for more information on the state-wide comprehensive needs assessment. 

 
 
 
Resource Spotlight: Tools for Today's Farmers Podcast
 
   
 

 

Today's farmers weather more stress than ever before. Seeking new ways to connect with those working in the agricultural industry, the Purdue Extension Farm Stress Team launched the “Tools For Today’s Farmers” podcast. This podcast aims to share important information, tools, and hope through interviews with experts in agriculture and special guests from Purdue University including lifelong farmers, ag journalists and researchers, and prominent farmer organizations such as Indiana Farm Bureau. Listeners will gain insights about an array of topics impacting farmers and the farming industry such as new technology, affordable health care, leadership and management, and maximizing profit.  

Another important farm asset that goes ignored too often is our producer’s mental health and the stress inherent to farming that most outside of agriculture cannot understand or fathom. Each guest contributes to the conversation about stress and mental health in the farming community by sharing their own story of trial and triumph – a message that says, “you are not alone.”  

The podcast premiered September 14, 2020 and new episodes are launched every other Monday. The podcast can be found on several platforms including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts.  Listeners can also connect with the Purdue Extension Farm Stress Team on Facebook @PurdueExtensionFarmStressTeam. 

To listen to episodes or learn about other Purdue Extension initiatives, visit https://extension.purdue.edu/farmstress/ or contact Tonya Short at short43@purdue.edu.

 
 
 
 
 
Partner Highlight: Kansas Agricultural Mediation Services
 
   
 

 

Since 1988, the Kansas Agricultural Mediation Services (KAMS) has been providing Kansas producers with legal, financial, and mediation services. As the USDA Certified State Agricultural Mediation provider for Kansas, KAMS helps Kansans resolve matters that affect their daily lives. Services include matters of mediation, financial counseling, legal assistance, and farm & ranch succession. 

Kansas Agricultural Mediation Services works with farmers and ranchers and their creditors to find solutions to financial hardships. In addition to mediation services, they provide agricultural credit counseling services to producers. Annually, they help hundreds of Kansas farm families stay in operation and avoid bankruptcy or foreclosure proceedings.  

The KAMS attorney and staff are available to confidentially discuss, at no cost, issues regarding any agricultural legal or financial issues, including answering questions regarding USDA denial letters, helping to clarify confusing paperwork, understanding available appeal options, agricultural credit situations, property rights issues, farm foreclosures, and landlord/tenant disputes. 

Agricultural producers, their lenders, and others receiving an adverse decision from any of the USDA agencies including Farm Services Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Rural Development are encouraged to utilize these services. 

To learn more, please visit https://www.k-state.edu/kams/ or call 800-321-FARM (3276).

 
 
 
 
 

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