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Recognizing the high levels of stress affecting America’s farmers and ranchers, Farm Credit, American Farm Bureau Federation and National Farmers Union have partnered on a program to raise awareness for individuals who interact with farmers and ranchers to recognize signs of stress and offer help.

Based on the farm stress program Michigan State University Extension developed for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency, this course for employees provides the skills to understand the sources and warning signs of stress, identify effective communication strategies, reduce stigma related to mental health concerns and connect farmers and ranchers with appropriate mental health and other resources. Tips to strengthen the employee’s own mental well-being are also included in the program that will launch in early 2020 to Farm Credit associations including FCS Financial.

Supporting Missouri’s rural healthcare providers is also important since research shows that 60% of rural Americans live in areas with mental health professional shortages. Farm Credit is a sponsor of AgriSafe Network’s Total Farmer HealthSM campaign that will train rural health professionals to recognize potential signs and symptoms of stress, identify people who may be in need of mental health support and connect them with resources for information and care. FCS Financial with the AgriSafe Network and Farm Credit collaboration will offer this targeted education resource to Missouri’s rural healthcare providers.

Often there has been a stigma associated with mental health, through these two resources Farm Credit and FCS Financial strive to remove that stigma. Our goal is to share the mission that help is available when a farmer faces stress.

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