Agriculture has proven to be a viable option for many military veterans seeking career options after leaving active duty. Not only can agriculture provide an opportunity for employment but it can often have therapeutic benefits.
However, veterans are not immune from the stress issues experienced by other farmers and ranchers. In addition, wartime experiences can compound stress and interfere with agriculture-related activities.
On Thursday, May 19th from 1-2 p.m. central time, experts will help shed light on the finer points of helping veterans find their way in agriculture. This webinar will explore issues related to the interface of veterans, agriculture, and stress.
Some main points to be addressed include the following:
Unique characteristics and stressors of farm families
Common themes and risk factors of mental illness and suicide in farmers and ranchers
Agriculture and horticulture as tools for stress relief
A farmer veteran’s method of managing farm stress
From Special Operator to flower farmer: a journey in healing
Dr. Andrea Bjornestad is an associate professor in the School of Education, Counseling, and Human Development at South Dakota State University and is the mental health state specialist in SDSU Extension. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor in South Dakota and National Certified Counselor with areas of expertise in school counseling and marriage and family therapy. Her outreach and research efforts have focused on the mental health of agricultural producers and military service members. From 2017-2020, she received a cooperative agreement with the United States Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences where she developed and implemented active listening skills training with Army leaders. Currently, with funding from USDA/NIFA, she is leading a team conducting a comprehensive needs assessment on farm stress and mental health in South Dakota. She has conducted numerous studies on the factors contributing to stress, depression, anxiety, and suicide.
Charley Jordan is the owner and operator of Jordan Farms in Woodlawn, TN, a five-acre floriculture operation specializing in annual and perennial market cut flowers along with all-natural forest-grown mushrooms. Jordan Farms also hosts several agritourism events each season, such as photography sessions and yoga classes. Charley is a veteran of the U.S. Army and retired in 2017 as a Chief Warrant Officer Four Special Operations Aviator with 28.5 years of service. Charley holds a master’s in aeronautical science and is an adjunct assistant professor for Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. He is also a student himself, currently attending the University of Tennessee-Knoxville’s inaugural horticulture therapist certification course and attending Hopkinsville (KY) Community College to obtain his agriculture teaching degree. Charley has been involved with Tennessee AgrAbility for over five years and has been a staunch advocate for veterans in agriculture throughout the state of Tennessee.
A question & answer period will follow the presentation.
To participate in this free webinar,click here to access the online registration form by Monday, May 16. Instructions for accessing the session will be sent to registrants by Tuesday, May 17. Please pass on this invitation to others you believe may be interested. Contact AgrAbility at 800-825-4264 or email [email protected] if you have questions.