Man carrying apples

Farm safety, health, and wellness programs and resources, while always important, have been gaining more attention in Virginia and nationwide. The Virginia Beginning Farmer & Rancher Coalition has been working to increase awareness and the availability of resources addressing these topics. Below is a list of resources addressing various farm safety, health, and wellness concerns.

If you are interested in joining the team of farmers, university employees, educators, and service providers working to address farm safety, health, and wellness in Virginia, you can email Katie Trozzo at ketrozzo@vt.edu to become part of the team.

The Toolkit

Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) designed the Farm Safety, Health, and Wellness Initiative funded by the Southern Extension Risk Management Education grant to address threats Virginia farmers face daily. Over the course of two years, the Initiative created resources, developed trainings and webinars, and conducted farm dinner theatres, ultimately culminating in the creation of a farm stress and mental health toolkit for farmers and farm service providers to use. In addition to webinar recordings and a how-to guide for farm dinner theatre, the toolkit contains resources on grief during the time of the coronavirus pandemic, best practices for farm financial wellness, a decision-making guide for farm service providers, fictional case studies highlighting various farm stress and mental health issues, and a mental health assessment that farm service providers can use with farmers experiencing stress. As one program participant noted, “This is a really good program and it is good for folks to come together to realize we are all in the same boat.”

Webinars

These webinars are being offered as part of a Southern Extension Risk Management Education grant, titled “Reducing Human and Financial Risk for Beginning, Military Veteran, and Historically Underserved Farmers through Farm Stress, Wellness, and Safety Education”

April 20, 2020: Stress and Safety: Decrease one, Increase the other

February 10, 2020: Agritourism Safety

November 18, 2019: Protecting Your Health and Safety as the Years Go By

October 29, 2019: Stress on the Farm: Getting Through and Thriving

Farm Dinner Theaters

Farm dinner theaters, created by Dr. Deborah Reed from the University of Kentucky, are a safe environment where, over a meal and through truthful, humorous stories, members of a local farm community may share conversations about the sensitive topics of farm stress and farm safety. Dr. Reed has found through her research that over 60% of farm dinner theatre participants make significant changes to their farm safety practices within 2 weeks of the theatre.

As part of our Farm Safety, Health, and Wellness Initiative we hosted two farm dinner theatres in Virginia that took place on February 20, 2020 in Madison County hosted by Brad Jarvis and February 22, 2020 in Lee County hosted by Amy Byington. These were attended by local and regional farmers and stories were shared by farmers and 4-H youth about often times real events in their communities that highlight the importance of farm safety practices.

Funding for the farm safety, health, and wellness work was sponsored by the Southern Risk Management Education Center Grant.

The Virginia Beginning Farmer & Rancher Coalition is a state-wide and coalition-based Extension program, housed in Virginia Tech’s Department of Agricultural, Leadership, and Community Education. Funding was sponsored by the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) of the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Award #2017-70011-26861, and the Southern Risk Management Education Center Grant #545015. For more information about the program, contact Katie Trozzo, Program Coordinator, at vabeginningfarmer@vt.edu or 540-231-4582.   For other questions, contact Kim Niewolny, Program Director, at niewolny@vt.edu.

For website updates, such as broken links, please contact vabeginningfarmer@vt.edu