Canadian farmers and food processors across the country work hard every day to put safe, high-quality food on our tables, while driving our economy and creating good, middle-class jobs. Farming can provide an amazing lifestyle with great rewards, but it can also be hard on mental health. Farmers and their families often face high levels of stress because of forces that are beyond their control, such as weather, disease, commodity prices, and trade.
Following Budget 2018, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Minister Lawrence MacAulay mandated Farm Credit Canada (FCC) to work with and support like-minded organizations to assist Canadian producers with mental health issues through greater awareness and knowledge dissemination and to provide greater access to services and supports in rural Canada. The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food recently studied the issue during their sessions on “Mental Health Challenges that Canadian Farmers, Ranchers, and Producers Face” and is producing a report based on the testimonies they hear. The Minister, along with Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture Jean-Claude Poissant, today recognized the efforts of FCC and other industry organizations who are working together to remove the stigma around mental health.
FCC is collaborating with 4-H Canada and industry partners to create a national program that supports the mental and physical health of 4-H youth. FCC will contribute $50,000 toward the National 4-H Healthy Living Initiative, which will be made available to more than 7,700 volunteer leaders and 25,000 4-H members across Canada. FCC has also partnered with mental health experts to create a resource for managing stress and anxiety on the farm titled, Rooted in Strength, and has produced a series of public service announcements to promote mental health awareness in agriculture.
In addition, the Minister also indicated that Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada is working with Farm Management Canada to support a project that will explore the link between mental health and the impact on farm business management decisions.
These initiatives will support industry efforts to better understand and address the mental health needs of the agriculture industry.