Helping farmers and families thrive
Rural life is often portrayed as an idyllic throwback to simpler times, where communities and neighbors come together in times of crisis and hardship. While the characterization of the tight-knit small town may ring true in many cases, rural communities still face all of the same modern-day challenges and adversities as their urban counterparts. When they do, they are often isolated by distance from resources and services tailored to aid their unique needs when they are faced with health, financial or other stressful matters.
At the University of Georgia, we are committed to helping the rural communities in Georgia and the producers, farmers and citizens who are the backbone of their communities. We are also happy to support the state's rural economy by investing in Georgia’s No. 1 industry, agriculture.
Resources to help you grow stronger
The following are a collection of articles, resources and programs we have gathered to assist with issues from maintaining good mental and physical health to juggling economic, educational or lifestyle concerns. We will update these resources with the most current and useful information generated by our faculty and by experts throughout Georgia and the U.S.
Stress and Mental Health
- Managing stress on the farm (Michigan State Extension): resources from identifying signs to coping with stress.
- Depression common for farmers (Georgia Farm Bureau News): types of depression and tips for managing stress.
- Farmer Stress in Georgia (UGA School of Social Work): survey and PDF report by Anna Scheyett, Dean and Professor.
- Characteristics and Contextual Stressors in Farmer and Agricultural Worker Suicides in Georgia From 2008–2015: PDF journal article from UGA Social Work and Georgia Dept. of Public Health researchers.
Nutrition and Physical Health
- Prevent and control diseases (UGA Family and Consumer Sciences): publications about heart disease, hypertension, cancer, diabetes and other general health resources.
- ChooseMyPlate (USDA): Get tips, ideas, and a personalized plan to meet your food group targets. Find what works for you and your family within your food preferences, health goals, and budget.
- Extreme heat and heat-related illness (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention): resources for people who work in or are exposed to extreme heat.
- Active People, Healthy Nation (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention): Access tips and resources to help you stay active.
- Budgeting tools and workbooks (UGA CAES): guides for planning and decision-making.
- Steps to disaster recovery (Georgia Department of Agriculture): six steps and related resources to help you and your farm.
- Executive Farm Management Program (in cooperation with NC State University): Program curriculum focuses on the management aspects of the operation which is adaptable for all operations of any size, scale and commodity focus. It consists of 12 days of content and curriculum taught across 3 sessions in 3 states over the course of 6 weeks.
- Farm financial and management guides (Michigan State Extension): tools to help you manage finances from budgeting to balancing.
- My Preparedness Initiative (MyPI) Georgia: a preparedness, leadership and educational outreach program.
- Health and nutrition programs (Georgia 4-H): learn about nutrition, health and fitness, bullying prevention, safety, and stress management.
- Youth Farm Stress (Michigan State Extension): learn about youth stress signs and coping mechanisms.
Bankruptcy Education Classes Certified personal financial management instruction courses.
Cooking for a Life Time Cancer Prevention Cooking School Cooking curriculum teaching how to reduce risk for cancer through healthy food choices and physical activity.
Eat Healthy, Be Active Teaches children key nutrition and physical activity concepts.
Homebuyer Education Course Learn about the process of buying a home.
Rite Bite Diabetes Cooking School A curriculum for teaching meal planning and food preparation skills.
School Garden Curriculum Garden-based lessons listed by grade level on earth science, life science, and physical science topics.
SNAP-Education Learn how to eat more healthfully, feed your family on a budget, and keep your food safe.
The Science Behind Our Food Lesson Plans Applied science curriculum in biology, chemistry, physical science and other subjects.
Walk Georgia A free web-based fitness program designed to encourage activity and exercise through accountability.
Walk-a-Weigh An award winning weight control program including physical activity and a healthy food demonstration.
Related Programs and Agencies
UGA Partners and Resources:
- UGA Statewide Connections and Rural Resources
- College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
- College of Family and Consumer Sciences
- School of Social Work
- College of Public Health
- For immediate crisis help, call the Georgia Crisis & Access Line (GCAL) at 1-800-715-4225, available 24/7 toll-free; staffed by licensed mental health professionals. Language assistance is available.
- Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities
- State Office of Rural Health, Division of the Georgia Department of Community Health
- Georgia's Center for Rural Prosperity and Innovation
- Farm Bureau: Rural Resilience
- USDA Rural Resources (housing, economic development, loans and more)
- Rural Health Information Hub
- National Institute of Mental Health (U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services): NIMH offers authoritative information about mental disorders, a range of related topics, and the latest mental health research.
UGA Rural Stress Summit Keynote Speeches
Ted Matthews, Director, Minnesota Rural Mental Health discusses the most common farm stressors and how understanding the nuances of communication can radically improve a problematic situation.
Anne Hazlett, Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development at the U.S. Department of Agriculture speaks about the opioid crisis in rural America.