North Central Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Center Shows Success

12-state collaborative is funded by USDA NIFA

August 4, 2022, 10:46 am | David Brown

Farmer sitting in tractor by katrinaelena/, Iowa – Since September 2020, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach has participated in the North Central Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Center, managed by the University of Illinois. This center is a 12-state collaborative that has created and expanded stress management and mental health resources to agricultural producers and stakeholders throughout the North Central region. This center is funded by USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture through award fund 2020-70028-32728.  

ISU Extension and Outreach is heavily involved in two key aspects of the center, including training programs and the Iowa Concern Hotline, said David Brown, behavioral health state specialist. The two training programs offered in Iowa are Mental Health First Aid and Question. Persuade. Refer.

Mental Health First Aid provides participants with skills to reach out and provide initial support to someone who may be developing a mental health or substance use problem and help connect them to the appropriate care. Question. Persuade. Refer. teaches audience members how to recognize the warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to question, persuade and refer someone to help. From September 1, 2021, to July 31, 2022, 16 youth or adult MHFA programs were provided to 230 agriculture producers, stakeholders and supporters. An additional 42 QPR classes reached 733 producers, stakeholders and supporters.  The Iowa Concern hotline, which offers confidential stress counseling, received 4,531 calls from September 1, 2021, to July 25, 2022. Iowa Concern hotline staff responded to calls from 10 of the key North Central states.  

Brown also noted, “Our farmers, ranchers and producers are still being impacted by the lingering effects of COVID-19, drought, and high input costs and can still benefit from programs in the North Central Region that provide professional agricultural behavioral health assistance and referral to other forms of support.”

Resources can also be found by going to the North Central Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Center website at

Those individuals interested in attending a MHFA or QPR program can go to to learn more or to register for upcoming classes. The Iowa Concern hotline can be reached 24/7 by calling1-800-447-1985.  

For additional information, please contact David Brown at

Photo credit: katrinaelena/

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