MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) awarded a $500,000 grant to the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries (ADAI) to help address mental health needs of farmers in the state.
"We have seen some statistics that show that higher incidents of depression and some mental illnesses in rural communities than more in some cities," said ADAI Commissioner Rick Pate.
According to ADAI, the grant will help provide outreach to farmers in an effort to increase awareness of stress triggers associated with mental health.
“Being a farmer is both physically and mentally demanding,” said Rick Pate. “Life on the farm can be extremely stressful as producers cope with unpredictable weather, fluctuating commodity prices, labor shortages and increased input costs, along with life’s normal challenges. We hope our department will be able to help farmers develop strategies to better manage stress.”
Factors that many of us take for granted, like the weather, COVID and even the supply chain, can affect a farmer's livelihood.
"You have mortgages, your kids, and everything but when you don't have enough food you just got one problem and that's what am i going to eat today," said Pate.
The state also plans to provide resource websites, training programs, workshops, small support groups and other activities to cater to farmers' various needs.
In total, the USDA awarded nearly $25 million across 50 grants throughout the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network State Department of Agriculture projects.