Trying Times: Tools to Understand and Alleviate Farm Stress

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2018: $72,714.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2020
Grant Recipient: Minnesota Department of Agriculture
Region: North Central
State: Minnesota
Project Coordinator:
Meg Moynihan
Minnesota Department of Agriculture

Information Products


Not commodity specific


  • Education and Training: extension, workshop, Adult response to farm youth in stress, Conflict navigation/management, Suicide prevention
  • Sustainable Communities: analysis of personal/family life, community development, community services, leadership development, partnerships, quality of life, social psychological indicators

    Proposal abstract:

    Our project will design, develop, and deliver an introductory curriculum and a variety of deeper-level trainings on farmer stress and mental health topics reaching at least 300 Federal agency staff, State regulatory staff, Extension, lenders, and faith and social organizations, and business people. In the course of a series of broad informational workshops about farmer stress delivered at six Minnesota locations in 2018, we learned that agricultural advisors want more information and skill building in suicide (including prevention and suicide's aftermath, conflict resolution and de-escalation. We also know farm and rural youth are exposed to the same stressors that their families experience; trainings on supporting farm and rural adolescents who are experiencing stress and mental health challenges will reach at least 100 ag teachers, 4-H leaders, FFA advisors and other youth leaders. We anticipate incorporating some of these events into existing professional meetings, but will also explore the use of computer-based distance learning, depending on the preferences of our target audiences. Some project team members have already committed to participate, including the AgCentric Minnesota State Agricultural Center of Excellence (collaborator), and Minnesota Departments of Health (collaborator). Other involved partners include Minnesota Department Human Services, Minnesota Farm Service Agency and Minnesota farm and commodity organizations, many of which are involved with ongoing farm and rural mental health discussions and planning with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. We expect this project will reach at least 400 agricultural advisors, educators, and other professionals.

    Project objectives from proposal:


    150 agricultural professionals who understand the nature of suicide, can recognize people at risk, and know how to intervene to prevent their completing the act. (25 per location)

    150 agricultural professionals who understand and have practiced conflict resolution and de-escalation skills (25 per location)

    100 individuals who work with farm youth are aware of how stress manifests itself in farm and rural adolescents and can intervene to help when they recognize signs and symptoms in youth they know (30 per location).

    One replicable curriculum available for groups and individuals who want to deliver Down on the Farm: Supporting Farmers in Stressful Times within their organization or community.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.