July News from North Central Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Center
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We hope everyone is having a safe and enjoyable summer. While some of us may find summers full of vacations and down-time, we know this is an especially busy time for our agricultural producers and workers. We also recognize the challenges some farmers and ranchers are currently facing due to unfavorable environmental conditions, especially drought.  

With this in mind, we want to remind everyone of the resources and services listed on our website, www.farmstress.org. Please consider submitting resources or services for inclusion on the website.  

Finally, we are excited to announce that the North Central Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Center will have an exhibit at the Farm Progress Show in Decatur, Illinois, August 31 to September 2. We are thrilled for the opportunity to connect with Midwestern farmers and agribusiness professionals. If you are planning to be at the Farm Progress Show, please come say hello!  

Josie Rudolphi, josier@illinois.edu
Courtney Cuthbertson, cuthbert@illinois.edu
University of Illinois Extension


Key Network Collaborator Update


Iowa State University Extension and Outreach

 Iowa state extension logo

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is collaborating with the University of Iowa, though Iowa’s Center for Agriculture Safety and Health, to develop a 6-hour curriculum titled, “Relationships Can Heal: Knowing the Farmer Client.”  This curriculum is designed to help mental health and health care providers more clearly understand the culture of agriculture. It also focuses on the importance of the therapeutic relationship and cultural humility when working with producers who are seeking out and receiving services. 

The curriculum will be delivered to mental health and health care professionals in six 1-hour modules:  

  • Introduction and Relevance: Barriers to help seeking, the therapeutic relationship and cultural humility
  • Farm stress and today’s farmer 
  • Traits, risks and protective factors: Dairy farming
  • What is our farmer’s work 
  • Understanding livestock farmers
  • Resources  

The curriculum will be highly interactive and a participant manual will be developed. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach experts from vital farm sectors wrote key program modules. Mental health and health care providers will also review the program for relevance prior to its planned pilot in the fall of 2021. The curriculum should be available to Iowa State University and University of Iowa educators in late fall of 2021.   

To learn more about “Relationships Can Heal: Knowing the Farmer Client,” contact David Brown (dnbrown@iastate.edu).


Resource Spotlight


Wisconsin Farmer Ranch Stress Assistance Network


The Wisconsin Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network team is developing a curriculum to help reduce stress caused by financial uncertainty. The "Cultivating Your Farm’s Financial Future" curriculum is designed to help producers self-identify into one of three camps:

  • Grow/Thrive/Build: The farm is viable long term and is in a cyclical high. The farm can thrive and build on strategic initiatives.
  • Long-Hauler: The farm is viable in the long term but is facing challenges. Cash is tight, so the farm’s focus needs to be on cash flow.
  • Guardian-Transitioner: The farm is not viable in the long term. The focus is on guarding equity and making choices about redesigning or exiting.

The curriculum will be delivered to farmers and farm families in four chapters:

  • Written/Video Commitment Plan: Self-assessment of mindset and financials to understand and commit to a plan.
  • Where are we now? An in-depth look at the farm’s financial information to decide their camp.
  • Where are we going? SWOT analysis and strategic planning to determine where the farm is headed.
  • How do we get there? Performance metrics, SMART goals, and plans for the next steps.

Recognizing that farmers under financial stress may have mental health issues affecting decision-making and motivation, the curriculum will also include mental and behavioral health components. A draft of the curriculum will be completed by October 2021. Testing the curriculum will be completed by May 2022 and then the curriculum will be available for educators and others to use.

To learn more about "Cultivating Your Farm's Financial Future," contact Joy Kirkpatrick (joy.kirkpatrick@wisc.edu).


Partner Highlight


Farm Foundation

 Farm Foundation logo

Since 1933, Farm Foundation has united diverse perspectives and leveraged non-partisan objectivity to advance agriculture. As a 501(c)(3) non-profit headquartered near Chicago, the organization seeks to accelerate practical solutions to some of the most pressing challenges and opportunities impacting agriculture locally, regionally, nationally, and globally. Using a unique approach that combines the trust and reliability of a “think tank” with the impact and urgency of a “do tank,” Farm Foundation focuses its work on four strategic areas of critical importance to farmers and the entire agriculture industry: conservation and sustainability; digital agriculture; farmer health; and market development and access.

To address farmer health, Farm Foundation launched the Iowa Farm Family Wellness Alliance last year to make pre-paid, ongoing mental health, wellness, coaching and counseling services available to all farm families in Iowa. This free, one-on-one, confidential support is provided through Personal Assistance Services via phone, text, live chat, video and app, and has been promoted in partnership with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. Farm Foundation hopes to expand this service to additional states and welcomes the opportunity to discuss potential funding or other collaboration to make these services available to even more farm families. Get in touch with tim@farmfoundation.org.

Man and woman holding child looking at field

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