MOOREFIELD, W.Va.—A new project at Eastern West Virginia Community and Technical College will support agriculturalists in obtaining resources for long-term sustainability of their businesses and reduce stress among owners and employees.
On Aug. 30, 2023, Farm Credit of the Virginias announced Eastern Workforce Opportunity Regional Center and Services as the recipient of a $10,000 award for the Agriculture Business Modeling For Reduced Stress and Mental Health Management project. The project’s objective is to help sustain production agriculture in the Potomac Highlands region of West Virginia and allow those who embark in the training to gain resources that will benefit their livelihood and quality of life.
“Farm Credit of the Virginias’ mission is to be an engaged partner in our rural communities, and we are proud to be able to provide funding for projects that benefit the future of agriculture and preserve the great quality of life in our communities through our Charitable Contributions Fund,” said Brad Cornelius, CEO of Farm Credit of the Virginias. “We look forward to seeing the lasting positive impact these funds will have throughout our footprint through the initiatives they support, such as this project.”
In West Virginia, agricultural production is strongest in the six-county region of the Potomac Highlands due to a large volume of poultry, meat and livestock agribusinesses. Eastern understands that to support this vital and growing field, mental health and business modeling will be key to continued success.
“Farming and operating an agribusiness is a uniquely stressful industry that presents many factors outside of one’s control,” said Sloan Williams, Eastern’s Potomac Highlands Producers program coordinator. “I’m delighted that Eastern Ag Innovation can provide greater access to helpful resources to encourage best mental health practices and support the well-being of farmers and their families in the Potomac Highlands Region.”
The award will allow Eastern to provide training to evaluate producer business models, provide resources for business model improvement, identify on-farm operational improvements to improve mental health, and ultimately equip producers with strategies to mitigate the stress of their operations.
Williams hopes that this program will cause a shift in producer attitudes and approaches to their day-to-day business operations after the training and inhibit producers from shutting down due to stress and hardship.
Throughout 2024, Eastern will host three trainings led by nationally recognized industry experts aimed at improving agribusiness modeling to manage on-farm success and team mental health.
“I am delighted that Farm Credit of the Virginias through the Charitable Contributions Fund is able to extend funding to Eastern WORCS to provide training for reduced stress and mental health management to our local ag producers,” said Greg Mitchell, Senior Loan Officer at Farm Credit of the Virginias. “Farming can be very stressful at times. Agriculture is a big part of our community, and this resource has the potential to help a lot of folks face and deal with challenges in life.”
To learn more about agriculture workforce training offered at Eastern, visit easternwv.edu/ag-innovation/