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Happy New Year!

We hope everyone had a safe and restorative holiday season. The North Central Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Center has big plans for 2021. The 15-key network collaborators from the 12 North Central region states are preparing for a busy year delivering resources and services to agricultural producers and workers, and developing programs for underserved agricultural populations. As a center, we have several projects we are excited to unveil throughout the year. Many of our collaborators are now offering programs such as Mental Health First Aid (MHFA), Question-Persuade-Refer (QPR), and other farm stress-related workshops.

We hope you continue to join us here for updates from our key network collaborators and their partners. To keep up with our developments, please click “subscribe” at the bottom of this message. Please contact Josie Rudolphi (josier@illinois.edu) and/or Courtney Cuthbertson (cuthbert@illinois.edu) with questions. 


Josie Rudolphi and Courtney Cuthbertson  
University of Illinois Extension 

Key Network Collaborator Update: University of Nebraska Extension


The goal of University of Nebraska Extension is to strengthen the network of mental health, legal and financial counseling, and education providers in Nebraska to reduce stress among farming and ranching populations through this project. In the first year, we are working to increase the availability of mental health, legal and financial counseling in Nebraska by supporting the Rural Response Hotline and Nebraska Strong Financial Services. Funding for these organizations is being used to support additional attorneys, financial advisors, and mental health counselors. We are also assisting agricultural professionals identify and assist producers facing stress by hosting “Communicating with Farmers Under Stress” workshops. Since this project began, 3 of these trainings have been conducted for 174 participants. Finally, we will provide “Compassion Fatigue, Burnout and Vicarious Trauma” Training to leaders within Nebraska Extension.

Resources for Nebraskans can be found at https://ruralwellness.unl.edu/.


Resource Spotlight: University of Missouri Psychological Services Clinic: Skills for Psychological Recovery (SPR) for Farm Stress


As part of the NCFRSAC project, the University of Missouri’s Psychological Services Clinic (MU PSC) is using brief, solution-focused teletherapy to improve access to mental health services. Skills for Psychological Recovery (SPR) for Farm Stress is based on a brief (1-5 session), evidence-informed therapy originally developed to deal with post-disaster stress and adversity. While SPR does not take the place of more in-depth mental health services, it can be a great option for individuals who need brief support and skill-building, and who may be reluctant to commit to longer-term services.

Spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic, the MU PSC has already adapted SPR to telehealth delivery, extending our reach to clients who are unable or prefer not to attend in-person services.

Through focus groups and other stakeholder consultations, the MU PSC is now tailoring the original SPR to the priorities, needs, and concerns of Missouri farmers and ranchers and their families.

SPR for Farm Stress takes a strength-building approach to help producers and their families build resilience and support good behavioral health adjustment in the face of acute and longer-term crises. Clients use one to five sessions to focus on the SPR skills (i.e., Promoting Helpful Thinking, Building Problem-Solving Skills, Managing Reactions, Promoting Positive Activities, and Rebuilding Healthy Social Connections) that are most relevant to them.  Ongoing stakeholder consultation, and assessment of clients’ behavioral health at the beginning, end, and three months after teletherapy, will help us evaluate the feasibility, acceptability, and outcomes of SPR for Farm Stress in improving the mental health of producers and their families.

To learn more about SPR click here: https://psychology.missouri.edu/psychological-services-clinic.


Partner Highlight: Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection


Wisconsin’s Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) the Wisconsin Farm Center has been helping farm families navigate challenges for more than 30 years. Backed by six decades of agriculture experience, the team offers services that support farmers including financial counseling, farm transition and succession planning, conflict mediation, and herd-based diagnostics.  

To address the farm stress crisis, the Wisconsin Farm Center has created a free, confidential pilot Farmer Wellness Program providing immediate support from licensed mental health professionals by contacting the 24/7 Wisconsin Farmer Wellness Hotline (888-901-2558). Farm Center callers can also obtain info on scheduling ongoing support via unlimited tele-counseling sessions, or receive vouchers that cover the cost of in-person counseling sessions close to home. A new “Rural Realities” podcast (https://datcp.buzzsprout.com) helps farmers tap into their resilient nature through expert advice that can help reduce stress, improve farm financials, enhance communication skills, and more.  

In collaboration with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and Behavioral Health Training Partnership, an online continuing education course aimed at teaching mental health providers about farm culture was also made available (https://bit.ly/38KwdGi).   

To learn more about the Wisconsin Farm Center, visit https://farmcenter.wi.gov or contact them directly at 800-942-2474 or farmcenter@wisconsin.gov. 


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