AMES, Iowa — With a $480,000 grant from USDA, Iowa State University Extension and partners in seven north central states will provide stress assistance programs to support people engaged in farming, ranching and other agriculture-related occupations.

Iowa State is leading the “Farm and Ranch Wellness: The Next Steps” program as part of the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network, according to a university news release.

Cooperative Extension Services in Iowa, Kansas, Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska, Missouri, North Dakota and Ohio will partner to develop an online catalog of stress assistance resources and trainings to help farmers.

“Farm and Ranch Wellness: The Next Steps” has two overarching goals, said David Brown, ISU Extension behavioral health specialist who is working with other state principal investigators to lead this regional project.

“Our first goal is to develop a network of resources, trainings and connections to help farmers and ranchers know where to turn for help dealing with stress,” Brown said. “Secondly, we want to provide a fuller and more robust network of stress assistance programs.”

For example, those programs include “Stress on the Farm: Strategies that Help” for anyone directly engaged in farming and ranching. Financial management programs targeted to farm and ranch women are available. Other courses include “Mental Health First Aid” and “GenerationRx,” which offers a comprehensive set of materials on the dangers of misusing prescription medications, including opioids.

“Our farmers, ranchers, and producers need help and programs that provide professional agricultural behavioral health assistance and referral for other forms of support, as necessary,” National Institute of Food and Agriculture Director J. Scott Angle said in the announcement.

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