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2024 FarmStressSummit Graphic CAES News
2024 Farm Stress Summit
The prevalence of mental health challenges experienced by farm families and farming communities in Georgia is staggering. Faced with unfavorable weather, unfriendly economic conditions, labor shortages and more, farmers of all types often cope with the pressures of their profession in unhealthy ways, including considering suicide. On March 20, UGA faculty and farmers, agricultural community members and mental health stakeholders will convene at the 2024 Farm Stress Summit to look for opportunities to support Georgia’s farm families.
From forces of nature to inflation, stressors have an outsized impact on farmers and their families. CAES News
Farm Stress
Farmers are tough. They work long days at physically demanding, often dangerous work and rarely get a break, much less a vacation. Months of hard work can be wiped out with a few days of bad weather, and they battle nature at every turn, from drought and floods to weeds and insects. Farmers and ranchers rank high on the list of most stressful professions and farmer suicide rates are higher than the overall population of workers.
Anna Scheyett CAES News
Rural Stress Podcast
Explore the heart of rural Georgia in this episode as we discuss the intersection of social work, agriculture and mental well-being with Anna Scheyett, professor in the CAES Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication (ALEC) and former dean at the University of Georgia's School of Social Work. Anna shares how she is building more robust networks to dismantle mental health stigmas, advocate for farmers' health and mental well-being, and highlight the statewide work being done to promote resilience and build support in the communities that provide our food, fuel and fiber.
From left, Lily Baucom, executive director of the Georgia Foundation for Agriculture, Jennifer Dunn, Southwest Area health agent for UGA Extension, Glenda Grant, director of the Georgia Rural Health Innovation Center at Mercer University, and Maria Bowie, summit co-chair and project and grant specialist for UGA Extension, gather before the event in Macon. CAES News
Farm Stress
As the backbone of Georgia’s No. 1 industry, farmers face insurmountable pressures that are often beyond their control. Increased input costs, market variability, environmental disasters and labor shortages are just a few of the challenges. The 2023 Farm Stress Summit, held at Mercer University this week, brought leaders from around the state to learn more about the unique stressors farm families experience and strategies for building a network of support.
2023 Farm Stress Summit CAES News
Farm Stress Summit
The data revealing farmers’ mental health challenges is sobering to say the least. Faced with unfavorable weather, unfriendly economic conditions, labor shortages and more, farmers of all types often cope with the pressures of their profession in unhealthy ways, including considering suicide.
The Georgia Capitol's Mental Health Day will include an update on rural mental health from UGA Extension Agent Jennifer Dunn. Mental health advocates will also have the opportunity to discuss their goals with Georgia lawmakers. CAES News
Mental Health Day
Mental Health Day at the Georgia State Capitol will be held from 8 a.m. to noon Tuesday, Jan. 31, to raise awareness of mental health issues and allow mental health advocates to share their insights with lawmakers. The event is an opportunity to increase awareness about mental health and health services, especially for those in rural areas, according to University of Georgia Cooperative Extension agent Jennifer Dunn.
Mark Rouark (left) and John Rouark, cotton farmers from Bostwick, Georgia, examine cotton plants in a test plot at the J. Phil Campbell Research and Education Center Field Day. Producers depend on UGA Extension agents for research-based advice to improve production practices. Now UGA faculty are working together to help farm communities under stress. CAES News
Rural Stress
Farmers are tough. They work long days at physically demanding, often dangerous work and rarely get a break, much less a vacation. Months of hard work can be wiped out with a few days of bad weather, and they battle nature at every turn, from drought and floods to weeds and insects.
Members of Well Connected Communities work together to improve health in their communities. CAES News
Well Connected Communities
University of Georgia Cooperative Extension agents throughout the state have been hard at work improving health in their communities through the Well Connected Communities program. A nationwide initiative developed by the Cooperative Extension System and the National 4-H Council, Well Connected Communities is designed to identify and address systemic health inequities at the local level.
Through the Rural Georgia: Growing Stronger initiative, the annual Farm Stress Summit and the Georgia Agriculture Wellness Alliance, UGA Extension is expanding its work to improve rural stress and mental health to serve the 1.5 million Georgians who live and work in rural communities. (Photo by Andrew Tucker, Dorothy Kozlowski/UGA) CAES News
Rural Health
More than 60 million Americans and 1.5 million Georgians live and work in rural communities and value being members of small communities, but access to health care and treatment is challenging in areas where doctors and hospitals can be far from home.