In a continued effort to help Wisconsin farmers access mental health resources, the Wisconsin Farm Center at the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) is launching a series of virtual farmer support groups.
The support groups are scheduled to begin in February. “These groups are designed to bring farmers and farm couples together so they can share ideas, provide encouragement, and support each other through challenging times,” said Jayne Krull, director of DATCP’s Ag Resource and Promotion Bureau, which houses the Farm Center.
Support groups will be offered at different dates and times to accommodate farmers’ schedules:
8 PM, fourth Monday of every month
1:00 PM, first Tuesday of every month
8:00 PM on the third Thursday of every month (for farm couples)
The support groups are open to farmers and their spouses at no cost. Participants can be located anywhere in Wisconsin and must register in advance. Each session will be 60-90 minutes long and will be held on Zoom. Sessions will be limited to 20 attendees per session, with a couple counting as one attendee.
Sessions will be led and moderated by peer leaders that are farmers who have experienced stress and anxiety while operating their own farm. A licensed mental health provider with extensive experience in serving farmers will also be on-hand at each session to offer additional support as needed.
DATCP’s farmer support groups are made possible by funding provided in Governor Tony Evers’ 2019-2021 biennial budget and approved by the state legislature. It is one of several new initiatives developed by the Farm Center in response to increased challenges faced by the agricultural industry. Other initiatives launched in 2020 include a podcast, QPR (Question-Persuade-Refer) trainings, an expanded counseling voucher program, a 24/7 hotline, and free tele-counseling sessions.