November 20, 2018 – Ottawa, Ontario – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Canadian farmers and food processors across the country work hard every day to put safe, high-quality food on our tables, while driving our economy and creating good, middle-class jobs. Farming can provide an amazing lifestyle with great rewards, but it can also be hard on mental health. Farmers and their families often face high levels of stress because of forces that are beyond their control, such as weather, disease, commodity prices, and trade.
Following Budget 2018, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Minister Lawrence MacAulay mandated Farm Credit Canada (FCC) to work with and support like-minded organizations to assist Canadian producers with mental health issues through greater awareness and knowledge dissemination and to provide greater access to services and supports in rural Canada. The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food recently studied the issue during their sessions on “Mental Health Challenges that Canadian Farmers, Ranchers, and Producers Face” and is producing a report based on the testimonies they hear. The Minister, along with Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture Jean-Claude Poissant, today recognized the efforts of FCC and other industry organizations who are working together to remove the stigma around mental health.
FCC is collaborating with 4-H Canada and industry partners to create a national program that supports the mental and physical health of 4-H youth. FCC will contribute $50,000 toward the National 4-H Healthy Living Initiative, which will be made available to more than 7,700 volunteer leaders and 25,000 4-H members across Canada. FCC has also partnered with mental health experts to create a resource for managing stress and anxiety on the farm titled, Rooted in Strength, and has produced a series of public service announcements to promote mental health awareness in agriculture.
In addition, the Minister also indicated that Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada is working with Farm Management Canada to support a project that will explore the link between mental health and the impact on farm business management decisions.
These initiatives will support industry efforts to better understand and address the mental health needs of the agriculture industry.
“Our Government is committed to doing its part, and working with partners, to promote positive mental and physical well-being in the agriculture sector. I am proud of the leadership demonstrated by Farm Credit Canada, 4-H Canada, and Farm Management Canada to support Canadian agriculture’s greatest asset – the hard-working people who help shape this growing and dynamic industry.”
– Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-food
“We need to work together on this issue – for our families, our friends, and our communities. By increasing awareness, reducing risk factors, improving access to quality mental health services and eliminating the stigma often associated with mental illness, we can support mental well-being.”
– Jean-Claude Poissant, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri- Food
“This is an investment in young people who will play a large role in shaping the future of Canadian agriculture. To help them reach their full potential, we are supporting a program that contributes to the mental and physical well-being of our next generation of farmers, and agribusiness professionals.”
– Michael Hoffort, FCC president and CEO
“4-H is all about promoting a healthy lifestyle and providing practical skills through hands-on experience to our members in rural and suburban communities across Canada. The resource and training initiative will provide young people with skills they will carry with them throughout their lives and will help them succeed, as well as manage the stress that sometimes comes in the face of adversity.”
– Shannon Benner, CEO of 4-H Canada
“Our 25 years’ experience tells us there is a positive correlation between mental health and farm business management. We’re excited to explore this connection further with the support of Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada to gain insight into how we can support mental health through better management, and how better management can support mental health.”
– Heather Watson, Executive Director of Farm Management Canada
- • Through Budget 2017 the government of Canada confirmed $5 billion over 10 years directly to provinces and territories to improve mental health and addiction services for all Canadians– including farmers.
- • Farm Credit Canada’s publication, Rooted in Strength: Taking care of our families and ourselves, will be delivered to all farm mailboxes in Canada starting the week of November 19, 2018. The Rooted in Strength public service announcements aimed at promoting mental health in agriculture are now available to media across Canada.
- • 4-H Canada, is a national organization of more than 25,000 youth members, aged 6-25, and 7,700 volunteers across the country. As part of the initiative 4-H will develop and deliver webinars, workshops and learning resources that will be included in 4-H club start-up kits and made available through 4-H LEARNS, the knowledge sharing platform designed to train the not-for-profit organization’s 7,700-plus volunteer leaders.
- • Farm Management Canada is a national organization dedicated exclusively to providing Canada’s farmers with the business management resources, tools and information to confront change with confidence and seize opportunity. FMC is fulfilling a significant role in nurturing a thriving Canadian agriculture industry positioned for sustainable growth and competitiveness.