New farm stress center to serve Midwest

The North Central Farm and Ranch Assistance Center is one of four across the country providing stress and mental health resources to farmers and the ag community.

Josie Rudolphi with the University of Illinois Extension, which houses the center, tells Brownfield it works across a 12-state region.

“It’s a very stressful occupation in general,” she says.  “We know this last year has been even more stressful and so the need for resources and services is at its peak.”

She says mental health resource shortages are exasperated in rural areas which is why their community-based approach is focused on creating online and phone resources, as well as in some states supporting mental health service vouchers.

Rudolphi is also excited about how a Nebraska support group in the Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health could be expanded into the Midwest. “It’s called Bienvenidos and it’s primarily for farmworker groups,” she shares.

A stress-coping tactic she recommends is called HERDSS, or Hobbies, Exercise, Relaxation, Diversion, or Social Support to try to relieve stress. “But if we come to rely on these constantly, it’s certainly time to think about enlisting the help of a professional,” she says.

The Center expands across Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

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