Williamson County Workshop Highlights Farmer Veteran Panel

Texas AgrAbility and the BattleGround to Breaking Ground Project in collaboration with the Williamson County Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and Stiles Farm hosted a farm tour and agriculture business workshop in on November 30 & December 1, 2018.

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BattleGround to Breaking Ground and Veteran Farmer Streamlined Eligibility Project Attend Basic Training

The fourth cohort of the BattleGround to Breaking Ground and the Veteran Farmer Streamlined Eligibility pilot project completed their basic training on August 24-26, 2018.

The agriculture business workshop was hosted on Friday, August 24 with presentations covering agriculture business ideas, agriculture business planning basics, Texas AgrAbility, BattleGround to Breaking Ground, farm safety, USDA Farm Service Agency, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Texas Department of Agriculture, and Capital Farm Credit.

Jason Morgan, retired Marine and BGBG Cohort 1 graduate, was the veteran farmer speaker.  He shared about his family farm, Sweet Genevieve Farm which produces grass-finished beef, pastured poultry, free range eggs.  They sell direct to consumer and utilize farm tours to market their products and production methods.  With his business plan, he has been able to secure funding assistance from Farmer Veteran Coalition Fellowship Funds to purchase trailers.  He has also utilized the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service to assist with cross fencing, rain water catchment, and livestock watering.  Jason shared helpful tips on starting a sustainable farm, marketing, and utilizing outside funding to reach their farm goals.

3 members of Cohort 2 of the BattleGround to Breaking Ground Entrepreneurial Training Project graduated on August 24th.  Ian Dunbar, Bill Meredith, and Rachel Mims completed 16 weeks of business planning courses, production courses, and 100 hours of hands-on training.


Managing Stress During the Holidays

The holidays can bring about stress, anxiety, and depression for many people, especially those who live with a mental health condition.  It is very important to give extra attention to your mental health during this time of year.

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Suicide Prevention in Farmers & Ranchers

September is National Suicide Prevention Month.  According to the CDC, suicide rates for farmers are five times higher than the general population.  Although suicide rates have risen in the last 10 years, ” studies have found community support can decrease stress, depression, and suicide,” according to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension publication.

While the risk of a friend committing suicide may seem relatively low, it’s estimated that between 10 and 20 percent of people in the U.S. think about suicide at some time in their lives. In other words, one or two of your 10 closest friends may consider suicide at some point. The negative  thoughts associated with stress and depression can be changed however, and people do get better.

If someone talks of suicide, makes comments hinting at suicide, suggests that people would be better off without him/her, or exhibits other warning signs, ask that person if they are considering suicide. Asking a person if they are contemplating suicide has not been shown to cause the person to consider suicide if they weren’t already. If someone is already considering suicide, asking them about it has not been shown to make the person more likely to make an attempt.

People struggling with stress, depression, or suicidal thoughts may think their feelings are too much of a burden to place on someone else. When you ask directly about their mental health and intentions, you are telling them it is not too much and that you care about them.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recommends the following guidelines to help someone who may be thinking about committing suicide:
• Ask them if they are thinking about killing themselves.
• Listen without judging and show you care.
• Stay with the person (or make sure the person is in a private, secure place with another caring person) until you can get further help.
• Remove any objects that could be used in a suicide attempt.
• Call SAMHSA’s National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and follow their guidance.
• If danger for self-harm seems imminent, call 911.

Preventing Farmer Suicides Rebekka Dudensing, Samuel D. Towne, Jr., and Carly E. McCord*

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#PTSD Awareness Day June 27

June 27 is PTSD Awareness Day.  PTSD stands for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.


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Suicide in Farmers

The suicide rate in farmers surpasses that of any other industry, according to a new study from the University of Iowa.

“Occupational factors such as poor access to quality health care, isolation, and financial stress interact with life factors to continue to place farmers at a disproportionately high risk for suicide,” stated study co-author Corinne Peek-Asa, professor of occupational and environmental health in the UI College of Public Health

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Mental Health Awareness #MentalHealthAwarenessMonth

May is Mental Health Awareness Month.  We would like to highlight not only the prevalence of mental illness, but methods to assess your mental health and get support for mental illness.

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Stress in Farmers and Ranchers #StressAwarenessMonth

It is no secret that farming and ranching is a stressful occupation.  With April being National Stress Awareness Month, we would like to bring awareness to stress in farming and ranching, how it impacts the farm and family, and how to get help.

Farmers and ranchers dedicate most of their time to caring for the well-being of their land, crops, and livestock.  Unfortunately they do not devote the same care to their own physical and mental health.

Farmers, fisherman, and forestry workers have the highest suicide rate of any occupation at 85 per 100,000 individuals each year, in a 2016 study by the Center for Disease Control.  With suicide rates at an all time high in the farming and ranching industry, it is imperative that the farming and ranching community make mental health a priority.

Farmers carry the burden of financial stress, herd health and disease, crop losses, budgeting, climate change, government policy, and long hours just to name a few.  Farmers are also reluctant to seek help, which makes treating mental health in farmers and ranchers more difficult.  There are a few key signs to look for in an over-stressed individual.

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PTSD and the Disabilities of the Post 9/11 War Veteran

The National AgrAbility Project hosted a webinar with Captain Guy Zierk, Marine Corps Wounded Warrior Regiment on December 2, 2015.

This session will begin by dispelling the myths and defining PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and other injuries associated with war. Participants will then learn how to navigate the VA (Veteran Administration) and learn how they can help veterans to transition into farming.

Source: National AgrAbility Virtual Training Workshop 2015

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What is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?

PTSD is a very common disorder that many people suffer from every day.

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