Minnesota Department of Ag awarded federal grant to boost rural mental health resources

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has been awarded a $500,000 grant to support rural mental health.

USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture recently announced 50 recipients totaling $25 million that includes MDA’s “Bend, Don’t Break” initiative.

Minnesota Farmers Union president Gary Wertish congratulated the department for receiving the grant and for leading on the issue.

“It’s a big help. Obviously farming is a stressful occupation, we all know that. We have to deal with a lot of things out of our control, whether it’s an extreme weather event (or) even market conditions like the trade war we experienced the last few years. And competition in the marketplace (and) getting a fair price.”

He tells Brownfield mental health has been ignored for too long.

“Anything we can do to help bring people out of the darkness, so to speak, and get them some help. And just make them aware that help is available, that’s a huge help for everybody.”

The grant will allow MDA and its partners to support, improve and promote services like mental health counseling, farm advocates, marriage retreats, and a farm and rural helpline. 

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