AgriWellness, Inc.

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AgriWellness, Inc. is a nonprofit corporation founded in 2001 to improve the behavioral healthcare of the agricultural population, comprised of farmers, ranchers, farm workers and the associated farm business community and their families.  With headquarters located at Harlan, Iowa, AgriWellness, Inc. serves a seven-state region comprised of Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. 

AgriWellness, Inc.

1210 7th Street, Suite C

Harlan, IA  51537

Phone:  (712) 235-6100

Fax:  (712) 235-6105

Email:  [email protected]

AgriWellness promotes accessible behavioral health services for underserved and at-risk populations affected by the rural crisis in agricultural communities.”

Board Officers

Jim Meek, President
Iowa State University Extension

Judy DeWitz, Vice President
Mental Health Association in North Dakota

Sarai Schnucker Beck, Treasurer
Ecumenical Ministries of Iowa

Margaret Van Ginkel, Secretary
ISU Extension, Iowa Concern Hotline

Marilyn Mecham, At-Large Member
Interchurch Ministries of Nebraska

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Board of Directors
Christopher Atchison

University of Iowa, College of Public Health

Ron Brand
Minnesota Association of Community  Mental Health Programs

Karl Goodfellow
Safety Net Prayer Ministries

Charlie Griffin
School of Family Studies and Human Services, KSU

Lynda Muller
Easter Seals South Dakota

Marcene Moran
Behavioral Health Consultation, Sioux Falls, SD

Peter Nathan
University of Iowa

Kathy Schmitt
Wisconsin Farm Center

Cyndi Scott
Pierre, SD

Leon Sigwarth
Holy Cross, IA

Anne Helene Skinstad
Prairelands Addiction Technology Transfer Center

Bonnie Turner
Lutheran Social Services of

North Dakota


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Executive Summary

In 2002 AgriWellness, Inc. emerged from being a fledgling organization to making significant contributions to the care of our nation’s agricultural producers.  Check out our list of accomplishments and our list of publications, presentations and other works completed during the past year.  You’ll see that a lot of our work has had an impact in the delivery of behavioral health services to the agricultural population throughout our country and beyond our borders. 

Not everyone shares our vision of promoting the behavioral health care of the agricultural population.  Many of our nation’s people are comfortable that there is ample food and that the producers are sufficiently rewarded.  Not the case!  Fourteen percent of our nation’s food producers cannot afford health insurance and the number of uninsured and underinsured (i.e., families with large deductible health care expenses and inadequate insurance coverage for mental health and substance abuse care) are increasing.  The United States Department of Agriculture has estimated that farming-related income for 2002 would decrease 23% from the previous year.  Even though bioterrorism threats have heightened concerns about a safe and secure food supply, the needs of the agricultural population for health care and safety are not sufficiently appreciated by many policy makers, funders and consumers.

We have our work cut out for us – to heighten awareness and to improve the behavioral health care of the agricultural population.  Despite the ravages of floods and the insidious peril of drought in major portions of the SSoH region in 2002, there is much hope within AgriWellness, Inc., its many partners and project leaders to improve the behavioral health care and overall wellbeing of the regions’ producers of food and fiber.  The AgriWellness board of directors, its officers, employees, sponsors and project partners join in furnishing this annual report.

Michael R. Rosmann, Ph.D.

Executive Director


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Accomplishments of 2002

·        AgriWellness was incorporated as a nonprofit corporation in 2001 to coordinate behavioral health services for the Sowing the Seeds of Hope (SSoH) project.  Begun in 1999, the SSoH project was designed and initiated by the Wisconsin Office of Rural Health and Wisconsin Primary Health Care 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 order to carry on this work, project leaders form the seven states (Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas) met in December, 2001 and determined to move the administrative coordination of the project to AgriWellness, Inc.  This shift was accomplished in 2002. 

·        AgriWellness bylaws and the board of directors were modified to ensure that all seven states have equal voice in the operation of the organization. 

·        Changes were made to the bylaws to require that ethnic minorities, persons with disabilities and consumers of behavioral health services have significant voice in AgriWellness, Inc.

·        Using funds from the federal Office of Rural Health Policy, as well as funds generated within their respective states, project leaders in all seven states continue to provide a range of mental health, educational and support services to farm individuals and families. 

·        Our project partners in the seven states include:  Ecumenical Ministries of Iowa, the Child and Family Programs of Kansas State University, the Minnesota Association of Community Mental Health Programs, Inc., the Nebraska Office of Rural Health and Interchurch Ministries of Nebraska, the Mental Health Association in North Dakota, Easter Seals South Dakota, and the Wisconsin Farm Center of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

·        Began forming a regional clearinghouse of information, provider training materials, and coordinated fundraising for services. 

·        Coordinated successful requests for funds from the federal Office of Rural Health Policy, the Land O’ Lakes Foundation and a congressional appropriation authored by Senator Tom Daschle to carry out program services.

·        The Sowing the Seeds of Hope project was selected as a “model program” by the Southwest Rural Health Research Center in Bryan, Texas. 

·        Coordinated a federal congressional appropriation request endorsed by Republican and Democratic senators in all seven states; congressional action is still pending on this request but a precedent has been set for a regional program which maximizes sharing of expertise across the seven states.

·        Carried out a two-day strategic planning session at Sioux City, Iowa with project partners from the seven states.

·        Completed a network outreach grant application and several other grants to foundations and corporations to establish a regional program to respond to the mental health needs of farm families which features:  outreach to the farm population at community events and by trained outreach workers, provider training about the farm culture and behavioral health, community education, crisis hotlines, a central information clearinghouse, coordinated behavioral health services through vouchers, prevention services, coalition building among state and regional partners, advocacy at local, state, regional and federal levels, social marketing to the agricultural population and general public, educational retreats and support groups.

·        AgriWellness committees have been formed:  budget committee (Sarai Schnucker Beck, Ron Brand, Judy DeWitz), personnel committee (Chris Atchison, Sarai Schnucker Beck, Margaret Van Ginkel), nomination committee (Marcie Moran).

·        Provided plenary sessions at “Courting Disaster,” an international conference on responding to disaster in rural areas at Regina, Saskatchewan and participated in a post-conference retreat with farm crisis workers from Canada, Great Britain, Australia and the United States.

·        Provided plenary sessions at the Midwest Annual Meeting of state Offices of Rural Health in Chicago, at the conference of the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health in Charlotte, North Carolina, and at the National Association for Rural Mental Health in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

·        Provider training by AgriWellness staff was carried out at the University of South Dakota Department of Occupational Therapy, University of Iowa Department of Occupational and Environmental Health, the Iowa Mental Health Conference, the Kansas Rural Health Symposium, the Widows and Widowers Conference and a day-long workshop with the Mennonite community in northern Iowa.

·        With the Extension programs in Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa, helped develop and implement a drought response, “Weathering Tough Times” which was made available by satellite to 17 states.

·        Work of the Sowing the Seeds of Hope program was featured at the National Association for Rural Mental Health Conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in the journal, Rural Mental Health, in a textbook being published by the Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative and in a manuscript being reviewed for publication as a book.

·        In partnership with the State Public Policy Group (which is headquartered in Des Moines and has offices in St. Paul and Lincoln) initiated an effort to establish a National Center for Agricultural/Rural Behavioral Health; the National Rural Health Association has joined this effort.

·        In partnership with State Public Policy Group, AgriWellness is organizing a major conference scheduled for May 29 – 30, 2003 entitled “The Clock is Ticking for Rural America:  A Behavioral Health and Safety Conference.”  The Great Plains Center for Agricultural Health, the National Rural Health Association, the Iowa State University Extension Service and the Prairielands Addiction Technology Transfer Center have joined in sponsoring of the conference.

·        With the American Society of Agricultural Engineers, published an editorial in the Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health, entitled “Agricultural Behavioral Health.”

·        A strategic planning meeting of the AgriWellness executive committee was held in Sioux Falls, SD.

·        A research advisory committee comprised of Mary Amundson, University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Jim Meek, Iowa State University Extension, Keith Mueller, University of Nebraska Medical Center and Nebraska Center for Rural Health Research, Michael Rosmann, AgriWellness, Inc., and Mary Wakefield, University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences was comprised to formulate a research project .  The research project explores the benefits of networks of farm crisis assistance. 

·        Worked with project leaders in Canada and Australia to help them with farm crises projects in their countries. 

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Our Staff


Michael R. Rosmann, Ph.D., clinical psychologist and farmer, is the executive director.  Dr. Rosmann has a history of many years of dedication to improving behavioral health care supports for the rural agricultural population.  In 2002 he was honored for his work by the National Association for Rural Mental Health with its Victor I. Howery Award, given annually to an individual who has made significant contributions to rural mental health. 


Deborah J. Marxen is the office manager and the administrative assistant for AgriWellness, Inc.  Always projecting a cordial and professional demeanor, she is usually the friendly voice that telephone callers hear when contacting the AgriWellness office in Harlan.  Deb is also responsible for the bookkeeping of the organization.  Deb is fully aware of the sacrifices faced by agriculturists and very supportive of work that AgriWellness undertakes to improve the livelihood of the farm population.


Linda A. Schiltz is a part-time secretary who also helps keep the office running.  A farm resident, a farm wife and a farm mother, Linda understands the challenges faced by the agricultural population.

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AgriWellness Financial Position

Although SSoH project partners have generated more than 3 million dollars since 1999 for projects, the administrative budget of AgriWellness, Inc. has been lean.  Thanks to grants from the Office of Rural Health Policy, a U.S. Senate Appropriation and smaller awards from such groups as the Land O’ Lakes Foundation and the National Rural Health Association, AgriWellness, Inc. has been able to pursue its aims. 




Services (training, consultation)






Others (interest, refunds etc.)








Office Rent




Supplies and General Overhead


In-Kind Contributions


Loan Repayment









Muxfeldt & Associates, CPA, PC completed an independent audit of AgriWellness, Inc. in 2002 which found all accounts in conformity. 


Contributions to AgriWellness, Inc. include the following:

·        $1,500 by Jim Meek.

·        $5,000 in-kind supplies and equipment by Michael Rosmann.

·        $75 by an anonymous donor.

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Publications, Presentations and Other Works

Rosmann, M. R. (2002).  Mental health care and agricultural families.  In B. Duerst (Ed.), Partners in Agricultural Health (in press).

Griffin, C., & Rosmann, M. R. (2002).  Assisting American farm and ranch families.  Invited address at the Saskatchewan Third Biennial Conference on Responding to Disasters in Rural Areas, Regina, Saskatchewan.

Reeve, J., & Rosmann, M. R. (2002).  The farm economy is an underlying factor in rural crisis work.  Invited address at the Saskatchewan Third Biennial Conference on Responding to Disasters in Rural Areas, Regina, Saskatchewan. 

Rosmann, M. R. (2002).  A vision for the behavioral health care of our nation’s agricultural population.  Rural Mental Health, 27(4), 7-10.

Rosmann, M. R. (2002).  Sowing the seeds of hope:  Overview of best practices of agricultural mental health.  Rural Mental Health, 27(4), 21-24.

Rosmann, M. R. (2002).  Agricultural behavioral health.  Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health, 8(4), 347-348.

Program on Agricultural Technology Studies (2002).  The health care crisis among Wisconsin dairy farmers.  Madison, WI:  University of Wisconsin Program in Agricultural Technology Studies.

Amundson, M., & Turner, B. (2002).  North Dakota sowing the seeds of hope.  Paper presented at the National Association for Rural Mental Health Conference, Santa Fe, NM.

Mecham, M. (2002).  The counseling outreach and mental health therapy project in Nebraska.  Paper presented at the National Association for Rural Mental Health Conference, Santa Fe, NM.

Moran, M. (2002).  The South Dakota rural mental health network.  Paper presented at the National Association for Rural Mental Health, Santa Fe, NM.

Williams, R. T., & Schmitt, K. (2002).  Sowing the seeds of hope:  Creating a mental health response for Wisconsin farm families in distress.  Paper presented at the National Association for Rural Mental Health, Santa Fe, NM.

Rosmann, M. R. (2002).  Sowing the seeds of hope:  Best practices of agricultural mental health.  Paper presented at the National Association for Rural Mental Health, Santa Fe, NM.

Van Ginkel, M., Meek, J., Patton, D. B., & Rosmann, M. R. (2002).  Seeds of hope:  Caring for the mental health of Iowa’s farm population.  Paper presented at the 2002 Iowa Mental Health Conference, Ames, IA.

Becker, J. (2002, January).  AgriWellness offers hope.  Wallaces Farmer, pp. 40 –42.

Staff.  (2002, February).  New mental health outreach options for farmers.  Successful Farming, p. 56. 

Staff.  (2002, November).  Movers and shakers.  Wallaces Farmer, p. 9.

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