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R is for Rural and Resilient Webinar Series

No Mississippian Left Behind: Barriers and Opportunities for Rural Mental Healthcare

Michael Nadorff

Rural Mississippians commonly encounter numerous barriers to seeking mental health care that prevent access to care. Although some of these barriers are apparent, such as few providers living in rural areas, other more covert barriers also exist. This presentation will discuss many of these barriers and strategies that can be employed to help make care more acceptable and available to rural Mississippians, as well as resources that can be employed to further increase access to care.


Romantic Agrarianism: Living Up To the Farmer Ideal in Historical Context

Jim Giesen

Walk through a grocery store or tune into a pickup truck ad on television and you will encounter numerous images of the American farmer. Indeed, it’s safe to say that most people interact with these commercial, mythic ideals of farmers far more often than they do with the people actually working the land raising crops or animals. Using images from nineteenth-century paintings to country music videos, this talk explores the history of that mythic idea, charting its rise from the very founding of the United States into the twenty-first century to try to understand how this romantic version of agrarianism may impact farmers’ self-perception even today. It poses the question, does agrarianism create false expectations for farmers themselves?


Inheritance Law, Cooperatives, and How They All Tie Together

Freddie Davis and Terence Courtney

Mr. Freddie Davis will lead a discussion with fellow experts in the field of inheritance law and the cooperative model and draw connections between these and their impacts on socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.


Socioeconomic and Institutional Stressors and Strategies for Resilience Among Socially Disadvantaged Farm and Ranch Families

Dr. John Green

This presentation will focus on identifying the pathways through which socioeconomic stressors influence the quality of life and wellbeing among socially disadvantaged farm and ranch families, with additional attention to the ways in which social institutions may either exacerbate or mitigate these challenges.


What We Have Learned About Agricultural Behavioral Health from the 1980s to the Present Day

Dr. Michael Rosmann

This first-in-a-series webinar examines the economic and social upheaval of the Farm Crisis of the 1980s and compares that era with the present-day strife associated with COVID-19, climate shifts, and federal agriculture policy uncertainties. There are lessons to be learned about how farmers and ranchers can manage stress, their behavioral health, and adapt in a complex socio-economic structure to optimize their production of agricultural commodities: food, fiber, and renewable biofuels. Social disadvantages, such as systemic racism, must be corrected at local, state, national, and international levels because the health and well-being of consumers worldwide depend on a behaviorally healthy and economically sustainable population of diverse agriculture producers who have equitable opportunities to maximize their productivity.


The Hidden Farm Crisis: Chronic Stress and Mental Health in Rural Communities

Dr. Brittney Schrick

Rural communities often lack access to health services. This barrier, along with cultural expectations of self-sufficiency, isolation, financial strain, and, more recently, the COVID-19 pandemic, has increased stress on communities that were already ill-equipped to cope. In this session, we will discuss these concerns, how the extension system is equipping farmers and their communities, and what we all gain from improved rural community health. 


Coping with Stress and the John Henryism Hypothesis

Erin King, MPH, MS

This webinar takes a look at the John Henryism hypothesis, what it means for farmers, and how stress and stress management affect people in rural communities.  


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Man in a maroon shirt and baseball cap in a greenhouse.
Filed Under: Agriculture, AIM for CHangE, Mental Health First Aid July 22, 2021

LOUISVILLE, Miss. -- Jim McAdory wears many hats. On any given day, the Mississippi State University Extension Service agent fields calls from local cattle farmers, teaches kids about the importance of daily nutrition, and tests soil to diagnose front yard and garden harvest problems -- all before lunch.

Based in Winston County, McAdory recently gained an additional role: Mental Health First Aid instructor.

A tractor parked outside of a shed at night.
Filed Under: The PROMISE Initiative June 24, 2021
By Erica Hensley
For the MSU Extension Service

Colby Hardin managed his depression since he was diagnosed at 18. With medication, he kept it under control throughout college, while working at Mississippi State University's dairy farm.

Flood waters surround a home in the south Delta.
Filed Under: Agriculture, Health, The PROMISE Initiative, Rural Health June 7, 2021

To some people, farming is an idyllic way of life, but producers face some unique stressors that can impact their well-being. In fact, a national poll by the American Farm Bureau Federation in 2019 confirmed that about two in five farmers and farm workers reported experiencing increased stress levels and more mental health challenges since 2014.

Filed Under: Food and Health, Health, The PROMISE Initiative, Farm Stress May 11, 2021

The Mississippi State University Extension Service PROMISE Initiative has two upcoming sessions in a webinar series that addresses farm stress, mental health and social structural issues affecting farmers and ranchers. The webinars will be held May 18 and June 15 at noon CST. They are part of the ongoing “R is for Rural and Resilient” series that began in November 2020.

Two workers walk behind a red tractor in a field.
Filed Under: Agriculture, Farm Safety, The PROMISE Initiative April 15, 2021

Planting season is underway and with it comes the transportation of heavy equipment along Mississippi’s roadways.
Drivers can help support local agricultural producers and their $7.4 billion contribution to the state’s economy by staying alert while sharing the road with planters, tillers and tractor-mounted sprayer

Success Stories

A woman wearing a blue collared jacket stands in the fruit aisle of a grocery store.
Peanuts, Irrigation, Equine, Equine Assisted Therapy Programs, The PROMISE Initiative, Nutrition, EFNEP
Volume 5 Number 2

In this "What's New in Extension," Extension agents implement better safety standards, train to deliver Mental Health First Aid, and receive national recognition. Also, new irrigation and specialists join the Extension family.

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Your Extension Experts

Portrait of Dr. David Buys
Associate Professor
State Health Specialist
Portrait of Dr. Mary Nelson Robertson
Extension Specialist I