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Responding to Farmers in Need

Filed Under:
Publication Number: M2287

Farmers are committed and courageous, but natural disasters, changing markets, and work injuries can be devastating.

Value of Ag Production in Mississippi

2012–13          $7.8 billion

2014–15          $7.6 billion

2016–17          $7.4 billion

Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry, and Veterinary Medicine, 2013–18 Mississippi Agriculture, Forestry, and Natural Resources

Number of Mississippi Farms

2012–13          42,350

2014–15          36,900

2016–17          36,000

Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry, and Veterinary Medicine, 2013–18 Mississippi Ag Fact Book

MSU Extension cares.

To meet the needs of farmers, Extension has adopted the licensed Mental Health First Aid program. MSU Extension agents are trained to provide this support and assistance to the Mississippians they work with. Learn more from State Health Specialist David Buys at or Project Coordinator Mary Nelson Robertson at

What Impacts Farmers’ Mental Health?

Financial issues [91%]

Farm or business problems [88%]

Fear of losing the farm [87%]

American Farm Bureau Federation, 2019 Rural Stress Polling Presentation

Markets are unstable, and farm income is decreasing while debt is on the rise.

Lower prices for crops and commodities due to trade disputes and consumer demand have caused financial losses, increasing farmers’ stress.

Farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural workers have the 2nd highest work-related fatality rate.US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017

Agriculture is one of the top 10 most hazardous industries in the U.S.

Farm owners, managers, and workers have high death rates due to stress-related diseases like heart disease, high blood pressure, and others.

3 of 4 farmers and farm workers report they are or have been directly impacted by opioid abuse. American Farm Bureau Federation, 2017

Misuse of opioids is a concern in rural areas.

Farmers and farm workers may not want to lose productivity time to treat or recover from injuries. Opioid pain relievers may be perceived as a quick fix, allowing farmers to get back to work, but this “fix” may lead to misuse and, ultimately, addiction.

If you or someone you care about needs help, please call the Mississippi Department of Mental Health Helpline at 1-877-210-8513. 

This project is supported by the FY17 Rural Health and Safety Education Competitive Grants Program of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA, Grant # 2017-46100-27225, and the FY18 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Rural Opioids Technical Assistance Grants # TI-18-022.

M2287 (10-19)

Copyright 2019 by Mississippi State University. All rights reserved. This publication may be copied and distributed without alteration for nonprofit educational purposes provided that credit is given to the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Produced by Agricultural Communications. Mississippi State University is an equal opportunity institution. 

Extension Service of Mississippi State University, cooperating with U.S. Department of Agriculture. Published in furtherance of Acts of Congress, May 8 and June 30, 1914. Gary B. Jackson, Director


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