Rural Resilience

We’re committed to providing the support that rural communities and agriculture deserve, which is why we’ve developed free training materials that focus on stress management and mental health.  

Support for Farmers

Farmers and ranchers are no strangers to hard times. 

Farming has never been predictable or easy. Farmers and ranchers face daily challenges. But with many years of market instability, fluctuating commodity prices, extreme weather, supply chain disruptions, and so much more, their difficult job has become all the harder. Those in our agricultural communities are under an extreme amount of stress.  

Our farmers are strong, but It’s time to break the stigma surrounding seeking help and having to be unwaveringly tough. Farmers need resources to help them manage their own stress and support other members of their community.  

Farmers are tough, but they don’t have to do it alone. 

While we cannot eliminate the many challenges farmers and ranchers face, we can provide the support needed to manage stress and stay healthy. Farm Credit, the American Farm Bureau Federation and National Farmers Union have joined together with Michigan State University Extension and University of Illinois Extension to create Rural Resilience. 

You’re Not Alone

  • Mental health stress and suicide rates among the farming community have been increasing since the 80’s. 
  • 2 in 5 farmers said that it is difficult to access a therapist or counselor in their community because of stigmas, embarrassment, and cost. 
  • 48 percent of rural residents and farmers say they are personally experiencing more mental health challenges than they were a year ago. 

Support You Deserve

Rural Resilience

Rural Resilience is a free, private, online training course to help farmers and their families and neighbors, cope with the mounting stress they face. The curriculum teaches participants to understand the sources of stress, manage their own stress, learn the warning signs of stress and suicide, identify effective communication strategies, and connect farmers and ranchers with appropriate mental health and other resources. The course is free and accessible to the public.

This video is from Farm Credit, AFBF, NFU, and MSU Extension launching Rural Resilience in 2019 on Capitol Hill. 

Member Assistance Program 

Cape Fear Farm Credit also offers free, confidential support services through First Sun Healthy Spark to members. If you or your family need additional help during these difficult times, First Sun Healthy Spark’s services offer resources and assistance for a wide range of matters such as:  

  • counseling services for grief 
  • stress management 
  • marital/relationship issues 
  • trauma, anger management 
  • depression/anxiety 
  • family conflict 
  • alcohol/substance abuse 

Learn more at First Sun Healthy Spark or call 1-800-968-8143

Additional Efforts 

To truly lean into our mission of supporting rural communities and agriculture, we are taking our efforts beyond the Rural Resilience and member assistance programs. Additional efforts in the pursuit of keeping our communities healthy and successful include:  

Rural Resilience Employee Training—a partnership with MSU Extension to create a specialized version of the Rural Resilience course tailored to the specific needs of Farm Credit loan officers and other front-line staff. The training is designed to help Farm Credit employees support customers facing challenging situations, as well as notice and manage signs of stress in themselves.   

Total Farmer Health—educating rural health professionals on the mental health risks faced by farmers and ranchers and training them to integrate basic mental health screenings into their primary care practices. The Total Farmer Health, a partnership with AgriSafe Network, helps address the limited mental health services in many rural areas. 

AG Safety Days—a partnership with the Progressive Agriculture Foundation to develop a new curriculum focused on the mental well-being of rural youth ages 4-13 as part of the “Ag Safety Days” it hosts across rural America.  

Cultivating Resiliency—an effort to spark conversations and connect farm families who have dealt with mental health issues. This partnership with American Agri-Women includes webinar discussions and Coffee Chat Sessions, an anonymous online forum for group discussion with folks in other regions experiencing similar situations, led by a trained professional. 

“To our farmers and ranchers: we see you, thank you, and support you. You are not alone.”