USDA/NIFA Funded Farm and Ranch Wellness Project Shows Success

Multi-state extension effort provides resources, stress assistance for anyone directly engaged in farming and ranching

February 5, 2021, 1:26 pm | David Brown

AMES, Iowa – Since October 2019, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and extension partners in seven north central states have supported the USDA funded project “Farm and Ranch Wellness: The Next Steps.” This project has provided stress assistance programs and resources to support people engaged in farming, ranching and other agriculture-related occupations in the North Central Region.   
farmer standing near large shed speaking on cellphone by VAKSMANV/“What is truly amazing,” said David Brown, ISU Extension and Outreach behavioral health state specialist and project director, “is that despite the ongoing pandemic, the participating eight state extension services have educated almost 10,000 individuals in a variety of programs directed toward stress assistance. Many websites, clearinghouses, catalogs and resources have also been developed just to assist farmers and ranchers in difficult times.”

The project continues to have two overarching goals, said Brown. “Our first goal is to continue to develop a network of resources, trainings and connections to help farmers and ranchers know where to turn for help dealing with stress.” To meet this goal the project has developed a clearinghouse of key state, regional and national resources anyone can access at

“Secondly, we continue to provide a fuller and more robust network of stress assistance programs, including the Iowa Concern Hotline, financial education and prescription drug abuse education in the North Central Region,” Brown said.

In Iowa, the key stress assistance programs have included “Stress on the Farm: Strategies that Help” for anyone directly engaged in farming and ranching. Advocates, such as agribusiness professionals, are also now better able to help farmers and ranchers who may be in distress after attending “Question. Persuade. Refer.” or “Mental Health First Aid.” These two key programs are still being offered and individuals can register at

The Iowa Concern hotline, which offers confidential stress counseling, continues to be supported by the grant and is now available to people in all north central states, Brown said.

Brown also noted, “Our farmers, ranchers and producers are still being impacted by ongoing financial concerns 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.”  

For additional information, please contact David Brown at

Photo credit: VAKSMANV/

About the Authors: