The Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) is focusing its newest effort on the mental health of the state’s agriculture community by providing a number of grant opportunities to groups that create and conduct local projects to show appreciation for farmers and farm families.

“The physical risks farmers face in their day-to-day environment often overshadows the incredible mental stress they face,” Commissioner of Agriculture Dr. Ryan Quarles said. “Sometimes a little appreciation for what you do lets people know what you’re doing matters. This is the goal with these grant awards: to raise awareness in our communities about the work farmers do each and every day.”

The grants are funded by part of a $500,000 grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to KDA this year. The overall scope of the $500,000 grant will allow KDA to expand on the new campaign — “Raising Hope — Supporting Healthy Lives on Kentucky Farms.” The endeavor focuses strategies on the mental and physical health of agricultural producers by increasing awareness of the issue, normalizing the discussion of the topic, reducing the stigma of seeking help, and showing farmer appreciation.

A total of $75,000 of the overall funds is available for small grants, up to $5,000 each, to be awarded to create and conduct local farmer-appreciation projects. The awarded projects will support community-based farmer appreciation programs that will promote the many contributions of farmer and their families and to appreciate the various challenges farmers face working in agriculture.

Applications are due to agr.marketing@ky.gov by Dec. 10, 2021. Groups interested in applying for a grant, can find more information and the documents to apply at https://www.kyagr.com/marketing/farmer-appreciation-grant.html.

The proposed projects will be reviewed by a committee with direct knowledge of the proposed program content through personal operations, education and/or on-the-job field experience, and select the recipients.