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On September 28 and 29 in Salida, Colorado, AgWell – a project of the Rocky Mountain Farmer’s Union will be hosting a Summit for programs and organizations supporting behavioral health and wellbeing for farmers, ranchers, agricultural workers, and their families in Colorado. Suicide rates, substance abuse, and mental health issues continue to skyrocket in America’s rural and frontier communities, where agriculture often is the major industry.

The opening program of the Sept. 28 event will be focused at the Guidestone Hutchinson Homestead located at 8913 W. U.S. 50, Salida.

The Colorado Agricultural Behavioral Health and Well-being Summit is providing a space for support organizations to share the work they are doing, their current and coming year program plans, and the resources they provide. For farmers and ranchers across the state of Colorado, it can be difficult to access mental health care that caters to their specific concerns and needs. From isolation, to paying bills as drought continues, to feeding their children, caring for livestock and crops, and worrying if they will be able to leave the ranch to their heirs, let alone retire, the worry and anxiety can be overwhelming and create an emotional toll on every aspect of life.

Various agriculture and behavioral health agencies, however, are looking to remedy that with a program that is, “built by agriculture, for agriculture”. They’ll discuss their successes and the struggles they face in the hopes of creating both an awareness of all the available programs, as well as strengthening the network of assistance between the providers.

Representatives from the following groups will be in attendance:

  • Rocky Mountain Farmers Union/ AgWell
  • Colorado Department of Agriculture
  • Colorado Farm Bureau
  • La Plata Family Centers Coalition
  • Southeast Health Group
  • AgrAbility
  • Land Logic (website coming soon)
  • Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention
  • Western Sports Foundation
  • Western Region Agricultural Stress Assistance Program Farm Aid

This time will provide an opportunity to speak with a wide range of agricultural organizations doing much-needed work in some of our most remote communities in Colorado and the Western States, including in Chaffee County. the full schedule is expected within a few days.

For more information about AgWell, go to www.agwell.org and for informaiton about some of their upcoming events go to: https://agwell.org/events/