Funds Aim to Provide Stress Assistance to Farming, Agriculture Workers
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has awarded a $500,000 grant to the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) to work to prevent suicide and provide mental health training in rural and agricultural communities across Ohio.
“Every corner of Ohio has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the farming and agricultural communities across our state were no exception. This critical funding will help connect more Ohio farmers to the mental health services our rural communities need,” Brown said. “Investing in health care infrastructure not only makes quality care more accessible for millions of Americans, but it also can help close gaps in the health care inequality we often see in rural communities.”
ODA will partner with The Ohio State University (OSU) Extension to train mental health professionals to address the unique stressors and factors that agriculture workers face. ODA will also work with partners to improve Careline training and ensure hotline operators are trained on issues affecting the agriculture sector and its workers. Lastly, ODA will conduct outreach and education in rural areas to raise awareness of these resources.
In the 2019 spending package, Brown helped secure $962 million for the NIFA, which included $8 million for the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network. The NIFA helps fund extension services and promotes research at OSU. Brown has been a leader for Ohio’s rural communities, successfully securing a number of provisions that are important to Ohio farmers in the 2018 Farm Bill. He is the first Ohioan to serve on the Senate Agriculture Committee in more than 50 years.