Farmer Co-ops ask USDA to focus on farmer mental health during COVID-19
The coronavirus pandemic is worsening ongoing mental health problems for some farmers and ranchers. National Council of Farmer Cooperatives President and CEO Chuck Conner says they are asking the USDA to leverage experience to provide a lifeline to struggling producers.
“First and foremost, telling farmers and ranchers that nothing that has happened is your fault and no one could have predicted what has transpired here and you should not carry it as being something you did wrong in terms of managing your farming operations,” he says.
NCFC sent a letter to Ag Secretary Sonny perdue this week. Conner tells Brownfield’s they’re asking the USDA to convey that…”you are not alone in this effort,” he says. “I think often times when people get to this point, they feel it’s a burden on them but in this case (the coronavirus pandemic) is a burden on many.”
He says farmers and ranchers continue to work to ensure the supply chain remains intact and must be supported during this time.
“When they’re struggling, we should be there to try to help out in whatever way we possibly can,” he says.
NCFC is also asking the USDA to share mental health resources with farmers and ranchers.