Press Releases



(STATEWIDE) The Connecticut Department of Agriculture has been awarded a $500,000 grant from U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) as part of their Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network (FRSAN) State Department of Agriculture projects.

“Farming is one of the most stressful occupations in the United States – from financial pressures to unpredictable weather and volatile markets to intergenerational differences and fatigue. When that stress becomes a health issue, it can not only impact the individual, but also their family life, farm productivity, and animal health and welfare,” said Agriculture Commissioner Bryan P. Hurlburt. “These funds will allow us to stand up a comprehensive program of valuable resources to help our producers at their most vulnerable moments.”

The 12-month grant award will be utilized in Connecticut to:

  • Provide professional education to healthcare professionals including mental health professionals, physicians, and nurses, to recognize stress-related behavior in Connecticut producers, ag workers, and their families.
  • Provide a train-the-trainer program to supply mental well-being awareness and coping strategies to ag educators, new farmers, and youth via the Cultivating a Healthy Mind curriculum offered by AgriSafe.  
  • Create a targeted marketing and outreach program to ensure awareness of the resources and activities.
  • Support the expansion of the UConn Solid Ground Farmer Series and Farmer Mental Health Circle offering peer sharing opportunities and learning events to new and beginning farmers.
  • Create a ‘Reducing the Stress of Farm Succession’ technical assistance service in partnership with Land for Good.

“COVID has put such pressure on the social, emotional, and mental health of farm families as well as youth across the state,” said Mike O’Neill, Senior Associate Dean for Extension and Diversity in the UConn College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources. “UConn Extension is very pleased to partner with the Connecticut Department of Agriculture to strengthen our partnerships in this area and offer services to assist in supporting those in need.”


The purpose of the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network (FRSAN) Program is to establish a network that connects individuals who are engaged in farming, ranching, and other agriculture-related occupations to stress assistance programs. The establishment of a network that assists farmers and ranchers in time of stress can offer a conduit to improving behavioral health awareness, literacy, and outcomes for agricultural producers, workers, and their families.

Connecticut’s program will be managed by Erin Windham,, and additional program details and information will be available at

The Connecticut Department of Agriculture (CT DoAg) mission is to foster a healthy economic, environmental, and social climate for agriculture by developing, promoting, and regulating agricultural businesses; protecting agricultural and aquacultural resources; enforcing laws pertaining to domestic animals; and promoting an understanding among the state's citizens of the diversity of Connecticut agriculture, its cultural heritage, and its contribution to the state's economy. For more information, visit




For Immediate Release: Friday, November 12, 2021
Contact: Rebecca Eddy