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Federal grant helps North Dakota farmers deal with stress

November 8, 2021 GMT

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A $500,000 federal grant will help farmers in North Dakota cope with stress brought on by drought conditions, reduced commodity prices and other difficulties.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture is providing the grant money for North Dakota’s effort through the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network.

“Creating and expanding a network to assist farmers and ranchers in times of stress can increase behavioral health awareness, literacy, and positive outcomes for agricultural producers, workers and their families,” institute Director Carrie Castille said in a statement.

The state Agriculture Department plans to partner with North Dakota State University and the North Dakota Department of Career and Technical Education on programs dealing with behavioral health counseling and referral for other forms of assistance, the Bismarck Tribune reported.

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“These stresses not only create severe financial stresses in agriculture but elevate negative effects on physical and mental health, relationships and overall well-being of those working in agriculture. In turn, such conditions place the larger agricultural system at risk,” state Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring said in a statement.

USDA is providing nearly $25 million nationwide in 50 grants supporting network projects.