The Star Democrat

MDA, University of Maryland announce Farm Stress Assistance Program

Program will promote physical, mental health in rural Maryland communitie­s

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ANNAPOLIS — The Maryland Department of Agricultur­e, in partnershi­p with the University of Maryland Extension, has announced a new statewide Farm Stress Assistance program designed to provide physical and mental health resources to rural communitie­s.The program is funded by a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agricultur­e National Institute of Food and Agricultur­e.

“Farming is a stressful line of work, and it is critical that we provide our rural communitie­s with the proper resources to address mental health issues,” said Caroline County farmer and Agricultur­e Secretary Joe Bartenfeld­er.

“This new initiative will provide muchneeded access to mental health services for farmers, producers and their families,” he said. “I encourage anyone struggling with stress management or any other mental health issues to contact their local UME office.”

The Farm Stress Assistance program will target farmers, farm families, agricultur­e service providers, health providers and rural audiences to raise awareness, provide training, establish tools and create resources around the topics associated with physical and mental health.

“Our nation’s farmers are truly the backbone of America, and we must take the necessary steps to improve their standard of living,” said Craig Beyrouty, dean and director of UMD’s College of Agricultur­e and Natural Resources. “Without prosperous farms and healthy farm families, we narrow the margin of possibilit­y towards feeding and nourishing a rapidly growing global population. Collective­ly, we need to protect the vitality of our farms so farmers can continue to utilize research to produce and operate at the highest levels.”

This joint effort between MDA and UME will provide stress management training to rural Marylander­s, provide direct counseling to families and outreach through social, educationa­l and partner programs. Additional­ly, a website and hotline will be created to support farm mental health assistance.

USDA NIFA announced Maryland’s grant along with 49 other grants funded for nearly $25 million. NIFA invests in and advances agricultur­al research, education, and Extension programs across the nation to make transforma­tive discoverie­s that solve societal challenges. In FY20, NIFA’s total investment was $1.95 billion.

For more informatio­n on the Farm Stress Assistance Program, please visit UME’s website.

 ?? UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND EXTENSION ?? The Maryland Department of Agricultur­e, in partnershi­p with the University of Maryland Extension, has announced a new statewide Farm Stress Assistance program designed to provide physical and mental health resources to rural communitie­s.
UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND EXTENSION The Maryland Department of Agricultur­e, in partnershi­p with the University of Maryland Extension, has announced a new statewide Farm Stress Assistance program designed to provide physical and mental health resources to rural communitie­s.
 ?? ?? JOE BARTENFELD­ER
JOE BARTENFELD­ER

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