Farming is physically and mentally demanding work. There are often long days spent working in solitude. Worries about fluctuating commodity prices, trade issues, increased debt, and severe weather may add layers of stress on agricultural producers. In 2021, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) was awarded $500,000 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture to help address farmer mental health and stress in the Commonwealth. VDACS leveraged new and existing partnerships with the organizations below, who received a portion of the grant funds to support and advance their mental health efforts in Virginia’s agricultural communities.
FARMVA’s mission is mediation - providing the opportunity to resolve disputes among producers and lenders or other agencies. With funding from this grant, FARMVA is able to offer credit counseling free of charge for agricultural producers. Representatives are available to talk with farmers to evaluate their current financial position and advise them on credit concerns and opportunities.
AgriSafe is a non-profit organization that builds the competency of health and safety professionals to deliver exceptional occupational agricultural health care and to reduce health disparities in the agricultural community. VDACS has partnered with AgriSafe for a variety of programming.
Virginia Tech is joined by the Virginia AgrAbility team and Virginia Cooperative Extension to offer training and events for farmers and farm families.
VDACS has partnered with the Virginia Farm Bureau to conduct various activities and trainings and to promote mental health and farmer stress awareness efforts.
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