NFU hosted a train-the-trainer convening prior to its Annual Convention in Savannah, Georgia. During the train-the-trainer convening, representatives from each Farmers Union state/regional division became certified to lead farm stress discussions in our respective states.

Kansas Farmers Union is proud to have two of its members complete the training: Keisha McClish Couts and Sarah Gideon.

The train-the-trainer program is part of a new farm stress training initiative National Farmers Union launched in 2019… Even in the best of times, farming can be an incredibly high-stress occupation. Unpredictable weather, crop disease, volatile markets, heavy workloads, and social isolation are just a handful of the challenges that farmers may face. But between persistently low prices, climate change, and trade uncertainty, times have been particularly tough in farm country – and it’s taking a toll on farmers’ mental wellbeing.

While farmers experience higher levels of psychological distress and depression than the general population, they are less likely to seek help for mental health issues. Even for those who do seek help, resources may not be readily available, as 60% of rural Americans live in areas with mental health professional shortages.

Recognizing these immense challenges, National Farmers Union (NFU), Farm Credit, and American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) have partnered up to address the farm stress crisis. In recent months, the groups launched a combination of online and in-person trainings for individuals who interact with farmers and ranchers. Participants will learn to understand sources of stress, recognize 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.

Learn more about the online training program available at no-cost to all Farmers Union members here!

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