Rural Resilience training addresses farm, ranch stress

As people around the country look for big and small ways to help their neighbors through the uncertainty that has come with COVID-19, the Rural Resilience Training Program, now available at no cost for all Farm Bureau members and staff, is a chance to do just that.

Developed by Michigan State University Extension in partnership with the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), National Farmers Union and Farm Credit, the online training program is designed for individuals who interact with farmers and ranchers to help recognize signs of stress and offer resources.

“This free training comes at the perfect time and provides Farm Bureau staff and members a meaningful way to make a difference in their communities,” RJ Karney, AFBF director of Congressional Relations, said.

The program will give participants the skills to understand the sources of stress, learn the warning signs of stress and suicide, identify effective communication strategies, reduce stigma related to mental health concerns and connect farmers and ranchers with appropriate mental health and other resources.

The training takes about four to five hours to complete and can be done over multiple sessions.

“Yes, it is a time investment, but one that pays vast dividends for both participants and those they will help,” Karney said.

A 2019 Farm Bureau survey shows an overwhelming majority of farmers and farmworkers say financial issues, farm or business problems and fear of losing their farm negatively impact their mental health.

State and county Farm Bureau staff and members can register for the online training here.