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State devotes $500,000 to mental health in agriculture


The state Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources is allocating $500,000 to support mental and behavioral health programs in rural South Dakota, with a focus on farmers and ranchers.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture is providing the funding.

“I strongly encourage our producers to take advantage of these resources and reach out for assistance if you need it," said state DANR Secretary Hunter Roberts in a news release. "No one should wait to be in crisis to seek the care they need."

The department is partnering with the Department of Social Services, Avera Health and South Dakota State University Extension.

  • DSS will receive $120,000 to support its Behavioral Health Voucher Program through 605 Strong. The program will be managed by the DSS Division of Behavioral Health. With this funding, farmers and ranchers will now be eligible to receive mental health or substance-use disorder counseling at no cost.
  • Avera will receive $100,000 to support its Farm and Rural Stress Hotline.
  • SDSU Extension will receive $245,000 to support new and existing mental health programs targeting producers.
  • The Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources will receive $35,000 to promote the expansion of the Behavioral Health Voucher Program.