They say in life that it’s not what happens to you, but how you respond to it. While so many variables on the farm are unpredictable – from the weather to market volatility – there are aspects within our control and resources we can turn to when times are particularly hard.  

Prioritizing Wellbeing of Farmers and Ranchers

National Pork Board (NPB) is committed to U.S. pig farming families and communities. We strive to provide an environment within our organization and industry that is consistent with our We Care® Ethical Principles, promotes the health and safety of employees, and where people are treated fairly and with respect – this includes the mental well-being of our people.  

We all go through tough times, but there is no shortage of people who care and want to help. I cannot stress enough the importance of getting the support you need, and when you need it. It’s important we break the stigma around mental health challenges and bring awareness to this topic for maintaining the vibrancy of our rural communities. 

With May as Mental Health Awareness month, I wanted to share a wealth of free resources readily available from experts in this field and are readily accessible year-round.  

AFBF Mental Health Resources

The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) has free resources, including its Farm State of Mind program aimed at supporting pork producers and their families and reducing mental health stigma through providing access to information and resources promoting farmer and rancher mental health wellness: 

  • Serving as a main hub for the campaign, this website provides crisis hotlines, treatment locators, tips for helping someone in emotional pain, ways to start a conversation and resources for managing stress, anxiety or depression. The following resources are available via the campaign website. 
  • Farm State of Mind: Mental Health in Rural America video: Illinois Farm Bureau member Adrienne DeSutter discusses her own experiences with suicide in her community and how it affected the way she and her family approach their mental health.   
  • Togetherall Peer-to-Peer Support Community: An anonymous, online, clinically moderated peer-to-peer mental health support community. Togetherall members are there to listen, support and give each other’s mental well-being a boost, 24-hours a day, seven days a week.  
  • Rural Resilience Training: Created by Michigan State University with funding from AFBF, Farm Credit and National Farmers Union, this free training is dedicated to helping individuals who interact with farmers and ranchers to understand sources of stress, identify effective communication strategies, reduce stigma related to mental health and learn the warning signs of stress and suicide. 

AgriSafe Tips for Mental Health

AgriSafe Network, a non-profit organization representing health professionals and educators to reduce health disparities among the agricultural community, also helps remind us about the importance of mental health and shares resources that can support agricultural communities. 

  • AgriSafe’s Agricultural Mental Health fact sheet: A resource to be shared with everyone involved in agriculture focusing on mental health. 
  • 1-833-897-2474, AgriStress Helpline: Suicide crisis/resource line answered by crisis specialists trained in agriculture that understand the values and pressures in agricultural communities. Available 24/7 by call and text.  Currently in the following states: Texas, Missouri, Wyoming, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Virginia, Washington, Montana, and Colorado.   
  • AgriSafe’s QPR for Agricultural Communities: Suicide intervention/prevention gatekeeper. This 1.5 hour training for all communities gives you the confidence to help someone in crisis get help. AgriSafe hosts free monthly trainings.   
  • FarmResponse®: Agricultural mental health training for healthcare professionals of all types. Training is on demand with 3.5 hours of content and a variety of options for CEs. AgriSafe has funding to support seats at no charge in many states.    
  • AgriSafe’s Mental Health and the Impact on Wellness for Farm Families fact sheet: This resource can be distributed at agricultural community events and is available in a free printable download in both English and Spanish.   

Additional Resources

Supporting You and Your Family

It’s a fact of life that there will be ups and downs. Yet, it isn’t easy to take the bad with the good. Get the support you need and make sure to take care of yourself and those around you.  

You are important, you matter, and you are not alone. You are part of an industry sustainably caring for people, pigs and the planet, all while producing a nutrient-dense protein for your families.  

This May, let’s do our part by supporting our people and others by working to destigmatize this topic. It’s OK not to be OK, but it is not OK to go at it alone.