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MDARD Awards One-Time Farm Stress Grant Opportunity

LANSING, MI – Today, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) awarded the 2022 One-Time Farm Stress Grant to expand upon Michigan farm stress programming and allow for further assistance for individuals engaged in farming, ranching, and other agriculture-related occupations to Michigan State University, in collaboration with Easterseals for $225,000.

“While the agricultural industry in Michigan continues to create new economic opportunities for food and agricultural businesses, we recognize the growing need for updated resources and educational programs that will help support the mental health of our farmers and their families,” said MDARD Director Gary McDowell. “At MDARD, we not only want to support economic development for businesses but Michiganders who work so hard in our industry day after day.”

The project aims to initiate, expand, or sustain programs that provide professional agricultural behavioral health counseling and referral for other forms of assistance. The purpose of this funding, granted under Act No. 87 of the Public Acts of 202, is to actively address issues of farm stress and mental health through farm business programming that includes farm resource management to prevent or ease the process of farm loss, consolidation, and farm succession. 

Michigan State University and Easterseals will use the funding to expand education, resources, and referrals to farmers, family members, and agribusiness professionals with online options to build communication skills and learn how to identify and manage stress. 

“Educational programs can strengthen knowledge of mental health including warning signs of stress and suicide, as well as assist individuals in developing communication skills and help-seeking behaviors,” said Dr. Cheryl L. Eschbach, Ph.D., Director, Health and Nutrition Institute at Michigan State University Extension.

“Easterseals Michigan is excited to partner with MSU on offering services and supports to address the growing mental health needs of farmers and their families in Michigan. Together we have been providing rehabilitative services and adaptive equipment through our AgrAbility program keeping farmers farming, and now we can now complement services holistically with addressing the mental health needs of farmers,” said Brent Wirth, President and CEO of Easterseals.

For more information about MDARD’s grant programs, visit Michigan.gov/MDARDGrants

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