A $500,000 dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, will provide expanded stress and mental health services to Vermont farmers.
The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets and the Vermont Agency of Human Services will collaborate with farms First to provide services to farmers in the state.
Farm First will expand its coordinated service to farmers. This includes sending out a farm coordinator and trained counselors to assess the situation, provide resources and expand follow-up services to 12 visits. They also plan to develop a peer support network of farmers.
The Director of Administrative Services at the Agency of Agriculture, Diane Bothfeld said farmers face many stressors, including the weather.
“They also have the stress of in some cases not knowing what they are going to get paid for their crop,” Bothfeld said. “And what is their income level going to be. Those are tremendous stress levels. For a lot of farms there’s the stress of what is next.”
The agency and Farm First will begin the work with farmers in early November 2021.