The Farmer And Rancher Stress Assistance Network is a national program aimed toward connecting people who work in farming and ranching across the country to stress assistance programs. Both Vermont and New Hampshire have their own state chapters of this national program.
Scan the lists below to find programs and support offered by each state as well as links to their websites!
New Hampshire: Farm Strong NH is a collaborative effort to address structural root causes of farmer stress, mental health, and suicide in New Hampshire.
- Mental well-being resources: including counselors who are familiar with the unique job of farming, social work, and case management support, mental well-being resources like articles and podcasts, and health and wellbeing programs hosted by UNH Extension’s team
- Legal Assistance: Connection to the NH Legal Food Hub as well as Funding for legal assistance including services like Appraisals, Business Structures, End of life documents (trusts, wills, powers of attorney, Farm transfer), purchase and sales, easements, Leases & Rentals, Neighbor Conflicts, Succession planning process, Zoning Issues. Additionally, there is a forum for asking legal questions and reading through previously submitted and answered legal questions, as well as a podcast if that’s your speed!
- Financial Assistance: Funding for one-on-one financial assistance such as working through Tax Planning, Financial Record Keeping, and Financial Analysis
- Mediation: The program is partnering with NH Agricultural Mediation to provide mediator services to farmers that can help in disagreements with creditors, neighbors, and other relationships by providing a calm and neutral third-party facilitator for difficult discussions.
- Peer-to-Peer Networks: There are several farmer networks across the state with the goal of fostering connection across shared experiences. There is the Queer Farmer* Network (*Note: “N.H. queer farmers” means anyone who is a farmworker, farm owner, or aspiring farmer/homesteader who is living and/or working in the state of New Hampshire and identifies with the word queer) that is working to develop more connection and support between queer farmers. There is also the BIPOC farmer network housed by staff at the New American Sustainable Agriculture Project at the Organization for Refugee and Immigrant Success, providing resources and training specific to the groups’ needs. This includes peer-to-peer support, mental well-being, tax, and financial literacy training. Additionally, several farmer-to-farmer storytelling and discussion events will be held across the state in the spring of 2023 to carve out intentional space for farmers in a shared region to come together for an evening of connection and conversation.
- Contacts: Queer Farmer Network – email@example.com; BIPOC Farmer Network – firstname.lastname@example.org; Farmer to Farmer Story Sharing – email@example.com
Vermont: Farm First has a variety of resources for farmers and their families, designed to support folks in areas like finance, family and relationships, mental well-being, and peer-to-peer support. These include:
- Relationships: Divorce and separation, domestic violence, farm ownership succession within a family, parenting, aging parents, and blended families are all areas that Farm First has information and resources for.
- Financial: Disaster relief resources for things like flooding, fires, and other major destructive events can be found on Farm First’s website. They have a list of national resources, as well as Vermont-specific resources. Farm First also connects farmers to resources and support for the more run-of-the-mill financial obstacles, like business planning, enterprise analysis, financial record-keeping and management, marketing and sales, human resources management, management coaching, and retirement and ownership succession planning. They also have a collection of organizations that offer grants, loans, and other sources of funding that you can browse.
- Mental Well-being: Farm First offers connections to providers that can assist farmers through all manner of things that can be affecting their mental well-being, such as anxiety and stress, depression, grief and loss, and substance abuse, and provides insights into developing a more resilient and healthy mental state through mindfulness, counseling, healthy thinking, and support from medical professionals.
- Peer-to-Peer Support: The Farm First peer-to-peer support program is a new initiative that began in the winter of 2022. The program looks to equip farmers with the training and resources to (1) be able to connect other farmers to the resources available through VT Farm First, such as business planning resources or mental health provider connections and (2) listen in a constructive and non-judgemental way to other farmers in order to alleviate some stress by talking about their concerns and challenges. This program is still developing but you can keep up with it by reading more on the Farm First website, or Vermont Public Radio and the Valley News.
- Resource Directory: Sometimes the most challenging thing about accessing support is finding the resource that applies to your situation. Accordingly, Farm First has worked to compile a full directory of organizations and resources that can be filtered by category (i.e. funding opportunities, legal assistance, veteran service) or searched by keyword.
- Self-Assessments: Vermont Farm First also offers several self-assessments that can be completed without contacting anyone, and can be a good starting point for folks who think they may be experiencing some challenges but aren’t ready to reach out to someone without first doing some self-exploration.