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Producers experience fluctuating commodity prices, trade disruptions and extreme weather events that make their already challenging jobs even harder. For many, COVID-19 has only compounded the situation, increasing farmers’ stress. Often the stigma around seeking help, isolation and lack of mental health services in rural communities mean rural residents may be reluctant to discuss the hardships they face. They may not know where or how to ask for help.

That is why Farm Credit, the American Farm Bureau Federation and National Farmers Union have joined together with Michigan State University Extension and University of Illinois Extension to create Rural Resilience, a free, private, online training course to help farmers and their families cope with mounting stress. The curriculum teaches participants to understand the sources of stress, manage their own stress, learn the warning signs of stress and suicide, identify effective communication strategies, and connects farmers and ranchers with appropriate mental health and other available resources.

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