The Farm Center at the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) is part of a new 12-state effort aimed at providing education, resources and support to farmers, agriculture service professionals and mental health care providers to mitigate farm stress and reduce suicide risk in rural communities.
In partnership with the University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension, the Farm Center will create farmer focus groups, develop mental health provider trainings, and support other activities focusing on farmer mental health.
“As stress among farmers continues to run high, we are excited to work with the Wisconsin Farm Center to help farmers and their families overcome mental health-related challenges,” added Joy Kirkpatrick, an outreach specialist at the UW Center for Dairy Profitability. “Low prices and uncertainty for many primary farm and food products over the last five years have created hardship and stress for many in rural communities, and the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic has only compounded those stress levels.”
The grant plan also calls for the Farm Center to collaborate in the development of regional meetings bringing agriculture service and mental health professionals together to learn from each other, as well as develop a Counseling Voucher Best Practices document to share with other states.
About the Farm Center
Since the mid-1980s, the Farm Center has provided a variety of farmer services including financial and business consultation, farm succession planning, conflict mediation, and consultation related to production opportunities and challenges.
The Farm Center has provided resources through several new farmer mental health initiatives over the past year, including pilot programs such as a 24/7 crisis hotline, tele-counseling services, and new outreach and education programs. These programs were funded through Governor Tony Evers’ 2019-21 biennial budget.
For more information, contact FarmCenter@wisconsin.gov.