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Understanding Stress and Depression in Farmers and Ranchers

The Rural Family Support Network is a team of Extension professionals in the North Central Region of the United States whose mission is to address issues related to stress and overall health concerns for farm and ranch families. Supported by a grant from the North Central Regional Center for Rural Development, the team conducted a study to identify specific farm stressors that increase the risk of depression and suicide in farmers and ranchers.  Levels of stress, depression, anxiety, social support, and coping behaviors were explored and will be shared.  Implications for working with farmers will also be discussed.

Presented by:  Dr. Andrea Bjornestad, Assistant Professor in the Department of Counseling and Human Development at South Dakota State University; Dr. Courtney Cuthbertson, Community Behavioral Health Specialist for Michigan State University Extension and Suzanne Pish Michigan State University Extension. 

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About the Extension Foundation

The Extension Foundation was formed in 2006 by Extension Directors and Administrators. Today, the Foundation partners with Cooperative Extension through liaison roles and a formal plan of work with the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) to increase system capacity while providing programmatic services, and helping Extension programs scale and investigate new methods and models for implementing programs. The Foundation provides professional development to Cooperative Extension professionals and offers exclusive services to its members. In 2020 and 2021, the Extension Foundation has awarded 85% of its direct funding back to the Cooperative Extension System, 100% of funds are used to support Cooperative Extension initiatives. 

This technology is supported in part by New Technologies for Ag Extension (funding opportunity no. USDA-NIFA-OP-010186), grant no. 2023-41595-41325 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or the Extension Foundation. For more information, please visit You can view the terms of useat

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