As part of its efforts to support farmers facing increased stress due to economic challenges, the Wisconsin Farm Center at the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) is hosting a series of one-day workshops for farmers. These workshops will present opportunities for farmers to hear from others in similar situations as well as learn about stress management techniques and resources available to them.
Called “Unexpected Tomorrows,” the workshops are designed to help Wisconsin farmers and their families deal with increased stress, depression, anxiety, and family issues brought on by prolonged downturn in the farming economy. These events will be similar to the Farm Couples Weekend Workshops hosted in partnership with UW-Extension, but are designed for individual farmers, not just couples.
Six Unexpected Tomorrows workshops will be held throughout the state this spring and fall:
- March 12, Wausau
- March 26, Green Bay
- April 9, Beaver Dam
- April 16, Dodgeville
- November (dates to be determined), La Crosse and Chippewa Falls
Workshops run from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. There is no cost to attend, and breakfast, lunch and snacks will be provided. Registration is required. To register: workshops. Deadline is one week prior to each workshop.
“Farming is a complicated and demanding business even in the best of times,” said Jayne Krull, Bureau Director of DATCP’s Agriculture and Farm Center. “Factor in several years of low milk and commodity prices, challenging weather, and international trade uncertainty, and it’s no surprise Wisconsin farmers are having a difficult time. We hope these workshops will help them connect with other farmers in similar situations, and come away with the knowledge that they are not alone.”
The Unexpected Tomorrows workshops are part of a farmer mental health initiative funded through Governor Tony Evers’ 2019-21 biennial budget. Other parts of the initiative include:
- Weekend workshops for farm couples
- Free mental health counseling vouchers for farmers and their family members
- Training sessions and workshops for counselors and peer facilitators to help them better understand the stresses of farming
- The Wisconsin Farm Center, part of DATCP’s Division of Agricultural Development, partners with industry groups, government and educational entities and stakeholders to provide services, information, and support to farmers and their families. Services include financial and business consultation, farm succession planning, counseling services, conflict mediation, and consultation related to production opportunities and challenges. For more information, contact the Farm Center at 1-800-942-2474.