WVDA Awards over $400,000 in Farmer & Ranchers Stress Assistance Grants

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Department of Agriculture (WVDA) has awarded three projects a share of $401,834 in 2021 West Virginia Farmers and Ranchers Stress Assistance Network (FRSAN) grants. The purpose of the FRSAN program is to establish a network that connects individuals who are engaged in farming, ranching and other agriculturally related occupations to stress assistance programs. Projects had to focus on initiating, expanding or sustaining programs that provide professional agricultural behavioral health counseling and referrals for other forms of assistance.

“These are federal COVID relief dollars appropriated to states to help mitigate the impact of the pandemic. Given rising energy costs, inflation and supply chain issues, many farmers are feeling increased anxiety and stress,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt. “Ensuring we continue to keep our agricultural production high is essential to the economy of our state and the security of our citizens. These projects aim to improve the mental health outcomes of our producers.”

The following projects were funded:

  • Coalfield Development Corporation (Lincoln and Wayne Counties)- $197,616: “From the Ground Up: Connecting Farmers and Ranchers with Community Supports for Stress Reduction”
  • West Virginia Military Authority (Statewide)-$102,040: “Patriot Guardens: Merging Mental Health and Stress Assistance with Agriculture Production”
  • West Virginia University Research Corporation (Statewide) – $101,554: “West Virginia Network for Rural Mental Health and Farm Stress”

Grant recipients have 18 months to plan, implement and gather data on their respective projects. The USDA awarded $28 million to individual State Departments of Agriculture or such equivalent departments.

For more information, contact Leslie Boggess lboggess@wvda.us or 304-558-2210.

The West Virginia Department of Agriculture protects plant, animal and human health through a variety of scientific, regulatory and consumer protection programs. The Commissioner of Agriculture is one of six statewide elected officials who sits on the Board of Public Works.