NMDA receives grant to strengthen mental health resources in New Mexico


NMDA contact: Brandon Larrañaga Communications Assistant, New Mexico Department of Agriculture [email protected] 575-646-1864

March 7, 2022

USDA funded program to help local farmers

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LAS CRUCES – The New Mexico Department of Agriculture (NMDA) has received a grant for the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network program with the goal of improving a network that connects people who are engaged in agriculture , animal husbandry and other agriculture-related occupations to stress relief programs.

The United States Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture awarded the grant to NMDA. Projects funded under the program must initiate, expand, or maintain programs that provide professional agricultural behavioral health counseling and referral to other forms of assistance as needed through telephone helplines and agricultural websites; training programs and workshops; support groups; and local services and activities. A total of $500,000 has been awarded and must be used by August 31, 2022. NMDA has partnered with New Mexico State University (NMSU) Cooperative Extension Service to allocate these funds on multiple platforms.

NMDA plans to leverage NMSU’s Southwest Frontier Food Protection and Emergency Preparedness Center (Centre), which is a collaborative effort between NMDA and the Cooperative Extension Service, to improve existing efforts aligned with achieving the goals of the Stress Support Network.

The center’s co-director, Marshal Wilson, is excited about the potential possibilities arising from the New Mexico Farms and Ranches Stress Assistance Network and its funding.

“The Southwest Border Food Protection and Emergency Preparedness Center and our partners are pleased to support our state’s agricultural producers through this network,” Wilson said. “This funding allows us to expand the programs we have already worked on and further expand our ability to benefit New Mexico farmers. The welfare of farmers and ranchers is of the utmost importance, and we hope this program will benefit them. »

Wilson is also an assistant director of the NMDA’s agricultural and production services division.

In collaboration with the New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau, the Center will use a blended approach to achieve four specific goals articulated around improving behavioral health, reducing and alleviating stress, and achieving results. positive for farming communities in New Mexico. The objectives include:

  • Leverage existing network resources such as the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Stronger Together campaign through a grassroots campaign to increase local awareness and education,
  • Enhance professional development opportunities by providing training, such as mental health first aid or similar courses to increase skill-based capacity to recognize and respond to stress in local communities,
  • Adapt and create evidence-based stress prevention, wellness, and health resources to recognize cultural and traditional lifestyles unique to New Mexico and how they are affected by stress; and,
  • Host multiple in-person and virtual workshops to provide awareness and education regarding stress relief and wellness in different parts of the state.

New Mexico Bureau of Agriculture and Livestock CEO Chad Smith said the Stronger Together campaign and other programs are prime examples of how funding from this grant can have an impact. positive on the state’s farmers.

“The New Mexico Bureau of Agriculture and Livestock is proud to be a partner in the ‘Stronger Together’ campaign,” said Smith. “The funding provided through the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network grant will allow our partners to truly amplify this campaign and others like it and help get much-needed resources spread across the state and between the hands of those in need. .”

Marcy Ward, livestock specialist with NMSU’s Cooperative Extension Service, believes the program provides a vital opportunity to positively impact farmers by using the program to educate and inform.

“The Cooperative Extension Service provides an educational outreach opportunity to reach growers in our state,” Ward said. “With the help of the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network, we can provide resources to help them deal with the additional stress they experience related to working in the agriculture industry locally.”

The New Mexico Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network website provides information on stress prevention, wellness, and health resources, or you can contact Marshal Wilson at 575-646-7243 or [email protected] .edu.


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