The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship received $ 500,000 to expand farmer mental health programs in the state. Funding for the grant comes from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture of the United States Department of Agriculture, and it will help the state Department of Agriculture partner with the ” Iowa State University Extension and Outreach to raise awareness mental health and wellness resources, and make them more accessible to farmers and rural communities. This year’s drought and the continued recovery from last year’s derecho are contributing to stress on farmers this season, said John Lawrence, vice president of ISU Extension and Outreach. “These resources can help farmers and farming families cope with the added stress,” he said. “Those who work with farmers will have access to tools to help them recognize mental health issues and provide appropriate assistance. Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig said farmers need to know they’re not alone in the face of added stress and mental health issues. “We all need help from time to time, and farmers and landowners are no exception. Some of the challenges they face are unique, such as long term financial stress, unpredictable weather conditions, and market uncertainty. “