New online course will provide stress coping techniques for the agricultural industry

Amber Burke
Wisconsin State Farmer
Unpredictable weather, volatile markets and financial pressures all contribute to stress in the agricultural workforce.

Unpredictable weather, volatile markets and financial pressures all contribute to stress in the agricultural workforce. While stress is a part of life, prolonged and increasing amounts can negatively impact overall wellness. Therefore, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection’s (DATCP) Farm Center has launched a free virtual course to address many of these issues.

This free virtual program will help agricultural service providers understand the unique stresses and challenges of farming, handle difficult conversations, and recognize signs and symptoms of stress with farm clients. Funded through Gov. Tony Evers’ 2021-23 biennial budget, this course is a part of the Farm Center’s Farmer Wellness Program that creates and connects Wisconsin farmers to mental health resources.

The course is available at no cost on the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Continuing Education Program website. Ag lenders, milk haulers, nutritionists, veterinarians, farm equipment technicians, and others that provide services to farmers are encouraged to take the training.

Each module includes a 15 to 20-minute video presentation followed by interactive questions. The course is self-paced and modules can be viewed in any order.

This course is organized into the following five modules:

  • The Culture of Farming by Dan Smith – President and CEO, Cooperative Network
  • Recognizing Farmer Stress by Renee Sutkay – Associate Director, Journey Mental Health
  • Financial Unpredictability in Farming by Paul Dietmann – Senior Lending Officer, Compeer Financial
  • Navigating Difficult Conversations with Farmers by Elaine Froese – Farm Transition Specialist
  • Resources and Self-care for Agriculture Service Providers by Chris Frakes – Program Director, Farm Well Wisconsin

For more information, visit farmcenter.wi.gov or contact the Farm Center at (800) 942-2474 or farmcenter@wisconsin.gov.