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annual report 2004

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Dear AgriWellness Partners,

For me, two words characterize the year 2004 for AgriWellness, Inc. – growth and success.  This past year AgriWellness has seen growth in program development and service delivery to our rural constituents through projects such as Iowa Recovers.  We’ve seen growth in organizational and board development.  And we’ve seen growth in our capacity by the talented staff that have joined our efforts.  AgriWellness has also enjoyed a year of success.  Not only were we able to serve numerous farmers and agricultural workers, but we were able to secure grants which helped the organization financially.  We are pleased to present our 2004 Annual Report, which will further highlight our growth and success.

 Clearly, our work has touched the lives of many individuals, families, and communities within the Sowing the Seeds of Hope region (Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin), and it has expanded to other agricultural areas of the United States and even on other continents. 

 Still, there is much to be done to strengthen the access our rural constituents have to behavioral health services. The dedication and passion of the AgriWellness board of directors, its officers, employees, sponsors and project partners is evident in this Annual Report.  We hope to inspire you to join us in building a more secure and healthy agricultural population.

                                                                            Most Sincerely,

                                                                            Kathy Schmitt

                                                                            President, Board of Directors



Sowing the Seeds of Hope is a sustainable, fully-funded, regional strategic partnership that provides culturally competent, accessible, affordable behavioral health services to the agricultural community. 

AgriWellness, Inc. is the recognized leader of behavioral health supports for the agricultural community.

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The AgriWellness Mission

Promote accessible behavioral health services for underserved and at-risk populations affected by rural crisis in agricultural communities.


Board Officers

Kathy Schmitt, President
Wisconsin Farm Center

Diane Patton, Vice President
Ecumenical Ministries of Iowa

Arlie Sholes, Treasurer
Nebraska Rural Response Hotline

Margaret VanGinkel, Secretary
ISU Extension/Iowa Concern Hotline

Linda Hessman, At-Large Member
Dodge City, KS

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Board of Directors

Mary Amundson                                                   Marcene Moran
Center for Rural Health, University                                          Behavioral Health Consultation, Sioux
of North Dakota School of Medicine                                        Falls, SD
and Health Sciences                                                                    
Clair Prody
Dennis Berens                                                     
Lakeland Mental Health Center, Inc.,
Nebraska Office of Rural Health                                               Fergus Falls, MN

Ron Brand                                                             Allan Stenehjem 
Minnesota Association of Community                                      Mental Health Association in North
Mental Health Programs                                                             Dakota

Charlie Griffin                                                       Ronald Swanson
School of Family Studies and Human                                       Galt, IA
Services, Kansas State University
Chris Tilden
Bev Loy                                                                 Office of Local and Rural Health,
Southwest Wisconsin Workforce                                                Kansas
Development Board
Bonnie Turner
Lynda Muller                                                                           Lutheran Social Services of North
Easter Seals of South Dakota                                                     Dakota

Marilyn Mecham
Interchurch Ministries of

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Begun in 1999, the Sowing the Seeds of Hope (SSoH) project was designed and initiated by the Wisconsin Office of Rural Health and Wisconsin Primary Healthcare Association and supported by grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Rural Health Policy and Bureau of Primary Health Care.  In addition to assistance from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy, support for SSoH activities in 2004 was provided by Congressional appropriations administered through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and by state funds, several private foundations and contributions.  AgriWellness assumed administrative responsibility for SSoH work in 2002. 

In 2004 our project partners in the seven states were

 Ecumenical Ministries of Iowa

          Kansas Rural Family Helpline

                  Minnesota Association of Community Mental Health Programs, Inc.

                           Interchurch Ministries of Nebraska

                                   Center for Rural Health, University of North Dakota

                                             Easter Seals of South Dakota

                                                    Wisconsin Farm Center of the Wisconsin
                                                       Department of Agriculture, Trade and
                                                         Consumer Protection







         AgriWellness, Inc. Board of Directors Meeting, December 2004


SSoH provided the following services last year:

  • Responded to 6,621 calls on farm crisis hotlines

  • Dispensed 3,061 vouchers for professional behavioral health services to farmers, ranchers, farm workers and their family members for outpatient mental health counseling, substance abuse counseling or psychiatric medication management

  • Conducted community education programs reaching 2,030 participants

  • Responded to 4,278 requests for various kinds of information including tips on coping with stress and referral information

  • Provided support groups and retreats reaching 91 persons and helped support outreach worker visits to 465 persons

       When the devastating news came one day that the bank could no longer borrow us money to farm, I completely fell apart.  I just couldn't believe this could be happening to me, to us, and to our family.  I called the Iowa Concern hotline many times.  They are wonderful people, so extremely helpful.  In fact they have saved my life numerous times.
-Crisis Hotline Caller

         I just wanted to thank you so much for the "Sowing the Seeds of Hope" vouchers.  It was very helpful and I want to continue to see [the counselor], as finances permit.
-SSoH Voucher User 

       The farmers support group is the AA for depressed farmers who are going through or have had financial or personal problems.  By talking with others, you come to understand that maybe it was not all your fault, that a lot of the time it was beyond your control (like the weather, markets, medical conditions, etc) that you were not to blame.
-Farmer Support Group Member

        Just wanted to write and let you know what a great experience it was to go to the Farm Couple Weekend Getaway.  This "Getaway" actually got us up and doing something about our situation to make it better for us.  Some terrific ideas and solutions to problems were discussed.  It should be required of farmers for the health of their family, marriage and profession.
-A couple who attended a farm couple retreat

     The Sowing the Seeds of Hope program was selected for inclusion as a "model program" in Hope in the Face of Challenge: Innovations in Rural Healthcare, by Thomas D. Rowley and published by the National Rural Health Association.


Iowa Recovers

AgriWellness coordinated Iowa Recovers, a crisis counseling program funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency through the Iowa Department of Human Services to assist Iowans in recovery from 110 flash floods and 69 tornadoes that hit Iowa in late May/early June. 

Twenty-five outreach workers, four team leaders and project administrative staff conducted 1,926 individual crisis counseling contacts, 279 group contacts, 1,527 educational services, and distributed information to 6,199 persons.  The project served the 75 disaster-declared counties in Iowa. 

“Even in the midst of disaster, a smiling face and a loving compassion can go a long way to making people feel it isn’t as bad as it seems.  We don’t know what we would have done without them [outreach workers].”
- Person helped by Iowa Recovers

“We had 12 acres of down corn, which isn’t a lot, but it sure did add a lot of stress to my husband.  But we have learned through the years to take all of this in stride- it is what farming is about: one step forward and sometimes two backwards.”
-Person helped by Iowa Recovers




By contractual arrangement with the Iowa Department of Human Services, and with the assistance of the State Public Policy Group in Des Moines and the Iowa State University, AgriWellness, Inc. provided a ten-hour training program to strengthen Iowa’s mental health and substance abuse response to disasters of all types to 39 participants and prepared 31 persons to serve as a ready reserve of outreach workers to provide crisis counseling program assistance following disasters of all types.  

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AgriWellness Staff

Agriwellness was able to increase its staff size this past year from 2 full-time employees to 5 full-time employees and 2 consultants due to an increase in grant funds. 

Consultants:  Two consultants provide AgriWellness, Inc. with added support in the areas of continuing education in nursing and social work.  They help us develop curricula and attain continuing education approval for our trainings and conference. 

Cathy Messinger, ARNP, MSN, RN, is an assistant professor at Clarkson College in Omaha, NE and Tonja S. Koenigs, LISW, is the Executive Director of the West Iowa Community Mental Health Center in Denison, IA.

Jaclyn Kiracofe, M.S., Publicity Coordinator

Jaclyn writes and edits 3 monthly newsletters, maintains the website, organizes the conferences and trainings, assists with research, and designs promotion materials whenever necessary.  She and her husband relocated to Harlan, IA last July after completing their advanced degrees in Boston, MA.  

Deborah Marxen, Administrative Assistant

Deb handles the accounting/grant/records management for AgriWellness.  She also helps with the typing, answering phones, and does the powerpoint presentations for the Executive Director.  She and her husband reside in Harlan, IA. 

Jim Meek, M.Ed., Coordinator of Training/Research

Jim Meek is a recent retiree from a 31 year career at Iowa State University.  He assists with planning, developing and conducting trainings, presentations, meetings, and conferences for AgriWellness and is a member of the research team.  Jim lives in Ames, IA with his wife and they have a grown son they enjoy visiting in Colorado.


Michael R. Rosmann, Ph.D., Executive Director

Mike Rosmann is a clinical psychologist who manages the family farm near Harlan, Iowa.  Previously he was a professor at the University of Virginia and the founding director of Prairie Rose Mental Health Center in Harlan.  Dr. Rosmann is an adjunct faculty member of the College of Public Health at the University of Iowa.  He is known nationally as an advocate for better behavioral healthcare for agricultural producers.  Mike and his wife, Marilyn, are the parents of two grown children.

Linda Schiltz, Secretary

Linda is the friendly voice on the phone you hear when you call AgriWellness.  Linda handles most of the typing, email correspondence and processes outreach worker forms that are submitted.  She and her husband make their home outside of Earling, IA and have 5 grown sons and 2 adorable grandsons.   

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Executive Director’s Report

AgriWellness, Inc. and our partners in the Sowing the Seeds of Hope (SSoH) region accomplished significant progress toward our goal of improving behavioral healthcare of the agricultural population and rural communities dependent on agriculture during 2004.   

Thanks to Senators Tom Daschle and Tim Johnson of South Dakota and Charles Grassley of Iowa, an appropriation was approved for $159,056 to provide behavioral health services to the agricultural population.  These funds, combined with the ongoing Network Outreach Grant from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy, are financial cornerstones for SSoH services.  Our state partners added funds and in-kind services whenever they could to strengthen services for the uninsured and underinsured agricultural population who depend on SSoH.

The AgriWellness Board of Directors identified six services as essential components to a network of behavioral health supports for the agricultural population: 

1)       A telephone hotline/211 system in each state

2)       Linked outpatient mental health counseling, substance abuse counseling and psychiatric care for the agricultural population in need of assistance, comparable to an employee assistance program for the farm population

3)       Clearinghouses of information in each state linked together through AgriWellness, Inc. and linked with the Rural Assistance Center at the Center for Rural Health at the University of North Dakota.  For example, AgriWellness now responds to an average of three requests weekly. 

4)       Use of natural helpers in rural communities as outreach workers to provide crisis counseling program assistance whenever disasters/emergencies occur

5)       The provision of agricultural behavioral health training to professionals, outreach workers and community education programs

6)       Educational retreats and support groups for the farm population to improve coping skills 

The Iowa Department of Human Services contracted with AgriWellness to apply for and manage the Federal Emergency Management Agency Crisis Counseling Program in Iowa to assist Iowans in their recovery from numerous tornadoes, floods and high winds in late May/early June.  These funds enabled AgriWellness to hire two additional full-time staff, Jim Meek as Training/Research Coordinator and Jaclyn Kiracofe as Publicity Coordinator, and to increase Linda Schiltz to full-time secretary.  These funds allowed AgriWellness to train and employ 33 outreach workers to help Iowans recover from the severe storms in 75 disaster-declared counties and to significantly improve our “bottom line.”  The Iowa Concern Hotline and the State Public Policy Group, headquartered in Des Moines, worked with us on this project. 

Drawing on our expertise in training, AgriWellness, Inc. was selected by the Iowa Department of Human Services to prepare a ready reserve of outreach workers to assist Iowans in future disasters/emergencies/crises of all kinds.  Network Outreach Grant funds made it possible for persons from North Dakota and Wisconsin to participate in these trainings.  AgriWellness is pleased to work with the Iowa Department of Human Services and our partners, Iowa State University and the State Public Policy Group, in these endeavors. 

Thanks to our additional staff, AgriWellness now publishes two electronic newsletters which are also available on our website:  Healthy Farmer and Agriwellness Partners.  We welcome new subscribers. 

Unflagging pursuit of the goal of building permanent behavioral health supports for the rural/agricultural population by unselfish people who work together is the hallmark of this program.  AgriWellness, Inc. is grateful to our many supporters who lend encouragement, influence and dedication to our mission:  “AgriWellness promotes accessible behavioral health services for underserved and at-risk populations affected by rural crisis in agricultural communities.” 

Michael R. Rosmann, Ph.D.
Executive Director


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January 1, 2004 – December 31, 2004


Grants and Contracts


Contribution In-Kind


Service Fees


Seminar Fees











Program Services/Community Services


Supporting Services/Management and General




Revenue less expenses


Net assets at end of year



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Fetsch, R., Rosmann, M., Peterson, R. and Griffin, C. (June, 2004).  Agricultural mental health:  Unique mental health challenges and effective practice.  Symposium presented at the conference of the National Association for Rural Mental Health, Boulder, CO. 

 Rosmann, M.R. (April, 2004).  Rural mental health issues.  Plenary session at the Iowa Association of Rural Health Clinics Annual Conference, Johnston, IA. 

 Rosmann, M.R. (April, 2004).  Working together with communities.  Invited address at the Fifth Annual Rural Health Conference, Tuscaloosa, AL. 

 Rosmann, M.R. (May, 2004).  What is so special about farming?  Keynote address, Town and Country Forum, Barcaldine, Queensland, Australia.

 Rosmann, M.R. (May, 2004).  What is so special about farming?  Invited address at the Central Queensland University, Rockhampton, Australia. 

 Rosmann, M.R., Moran, M., Meek, J. and Schmitt, K. (June, 2004).  Behavioral health supports for the agricultural population:  A report from the Sowing the Seeds of Hope region.  Symposium presented at the conference of the National Association for Rural Mental Health, Boulder, CO. 

Produce Monthly Newsletters: September 2004-Present

AgriWellness Board Newsletter: A one-page newsletter designed to keep the board informed of what AgriWellness is doing, to clarify any issues that might arise in the conference calls, and it highlights a different board member each month.

 AgriWellness Partners: A brief, two-page summary style-newsletter that contains information on what we are doing each month, aimed at informing our ‘partners’ and others interested in helping support agricultural behavioral health issues.

 Healthy Farmer: An entertaining, informal two-page newsletter that aims to give farmers, farm workers, family members, or any person related to the production of agriculture useful information about behavioral health and safety issues in agricultural and rural areas.

Contributed to Radio Programs: 

  • Learfield Communications, Des Moines, IA. January 16, 2004

  • KDSN Radio, Denison, IA. April 20, 2004

  • Australian Broadcasting Company, Barcaldine, Queensland, Australia, May 4 & 5, 2004

  • Australian Broadcasting Company, Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia, May 12, 2004

  • Australian Broadcasting Company, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, May 24, 2004   

  • KMA Radio, Shenandoah, IA.  June 14, 2004     

  • KXEL Radio, Waterloo, IA. June 22, 2004

Contributed to Television Programs: 

  • Fox Television Affiliate, Des Moines, IA, March 31, 2004

  • WIN Television, Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia, May 11, 2004

  • ABC Affiliate, Dayton, OH, November 4, 2004

Guest Lectures:

  • University of South Dakota, Vermillion, SD, March 5, 2004

  • Clarkson College, Omaha, NE, April 6, 2004 & November 22, 2004

  • University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL, April 29, 2004

  • Central Queensland University, Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia, May 11, 2004

  • University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, June 10, 2004

  • Veterans Administration Hospital, Knoxville, IA, October 1, 2004

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