papers and publications

Please contact our office for a complete copy of the following articles.

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Agricultural Behavioral Health by Michael R. Rosmann

Abstract:  This is a guest editorial which appeared in the November 2002 issue of the Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health.  The behavioral health risks of persons engaged in agriculture are less well understood than occupationally related medical illnesses, injuries and fatalities.  A good case can be made that the behavior of persons involved in agriculture is the least understood component of their safety.  Behavioral health and safety of those involved in the production of food and fiber warrants dedicated focus from scientists, educators, policy makers, funders and the providers of health services.  The editorial proposes how these issues can be addressed.

The Health Care Crisis Among Wisconsin Dairy Farmers by the Program on Agricultural Technology Studies

Abstract:  This University of Wisconsin - Madison program in Agricultural Technology Studies documents that 18% of Wisconsin dairy farmers are uninsured and 23% are underinsured (for a total of 41%).  New farmers (i.e., started farming in the past five years), smaller farms (i.e., average herd size of 49 cows) and families with children under the age of 18 were more likely to be uninsured.  Medium-sized farms (i.e., average herd size of 75 cows and total farm receipts of more than $100,000) and older farmers (i.e., 58% of Wisconsin dairy farmers are older than 55 years of age) were most likely to be underinsured.  A farm health task group in Wisconsin is looking at various solutions to the health insurance problem:  1)  Changing Medicare/Badger Care guidelines so depreciation is not included in income when determining eligibility for the program; 2)  Developing health insurance risk sharing pools that include farmers, other self-employed persons and small business owners; 3)  Creating incentives for federally-funded community health centers to extend their care to uninsured and underinsured farm families; and 4)  Encouraging rural churches to develop parish nurse programs so basic health care services can be offered in churches.

Seeds of Hope:  Caring for the Mental Health of Iowa's Farm Population by Margaret Van Ginkel, Jim Meek, Diane B. Patton and Michael R. Rosmann

AbstractThe Iowa Concern Hotline, the Iowa State University Extension Rural Mental Health Initiative and Ecumenical Ministries of Iowa are linking together to create a network of mental health services for Iowa's farm and rural families.  AgriWellness, Inc. provides administrative services and technical assistance to the Iowa network of services.

A Vision for the Behavioral Health Care of our Nation's Agricultural Population by Michael R. Rosmann

AbstractThis is the Victor I. Howery Memorial Award acceptance speech, given at the National Association for Rural Mental Health Conference on August 27, 2002 at Santa Fe, New Mexico by Michael R. Rosmann.  In this speech, Dr. Rosmann proposes his vision of behavioral health for the nation's agricultural producers.

Sowing the Seeds of Hope:  Creating a Mental Health Response for Wisconsin Farm Families in Distress by Roger T. Williams and Kathy Schmitt

Abstract It’s been a tough “row to hoe” for Wisconsin farm families.  Most farm families have experienced financial distress for the past 15+ years:  plummeting land values in the mid-1980s were followed by a severe drought in 1988; major feed shortages in 1989; low milk prices in the early 1990s; drought in 1992; floods in 1993; feed shortages in 1994; intense heat in the summer of 1995; a cold, wet spring in 1996; low milk prices in 1997; low beef, hog, corn and soybean prices in 1998-99; extremely low milk prices in 2000; and a cold, wet spring followed by dry conditions in 2001.

This state of “chronic, prolonged stress” for Wisconsin farm families made it easy for our state to join in a federally-funded Sowing The Seeds Of Hope project to respond to the mental health and support needs of farm families in distress.  The Sowing The Seeds of Hope project offered an exciting opportunity:  to be part of a seven-state Midwestern project that involved each state developing the mental health and support services they needed for their farm families and to learn from each other through monthly teleconferences and occasional face-to-face meetings.  The challenge became one of determining what constellation of services would be most helpful for Wisconsin farm families in need and mobilizing the people and groups that could help launch a statewide project.

Sowing the Seeds of Hope:  Overview of Best Practices of Agricultural Mental Health by Michael R. Rosmann

Abstract Seven states (Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas) share resources and a common administrative structure to offer culturally specific mental health services to underserved farm and ranch families.  This workshop reports the “best practices” of five projects in the region:  The Wisconsin Provider Survey, the Counseling Outreach and Mental Health Therapy Project in Nebraska, the South Dakota Rural Mental Health Network, the collaborative work being done in North Dakota and the administrative coordination provided by AgriWellness, Inc.

Sowing the Seeds of Hope:  In Critical Need by Michael R. Rosmann

Abstract:  Low commodity prices, escalating farm expenses, farm consolidation, long hours of work in isolation and bad weather are factors that have created chronic prolonged stress for farm and ranch families.  Sowing the Seeds of Hope (SSoH) was established on a pilot basis in 1999 to provide prevention and mental health services to farm families in seven of the most severely affected states:  Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.  In the short time that the SSoH project has been in existence, more than 14,000 farm residents have participated in outreach events; at least 5,850 farm residents participated in community education and more than 4,500 farmers and family members have been linked with SSoH service providers for mental health counseling.  Affiliated crisis hotlines have responded to more than 21,000 calls in the seven states.  The SSoH program has been featured in Successful Farming, Rural Mental Health, and on ABC and CNN television programs.

Rural Mental Health Paper for the Iowa Consortium by Michael R. Rosmann

Abstract:  Commissioned by the Iowa Mental Health Consortium, this paper was written in preparation for the Iowa Mental Health Forum October, 31, 2001.  The paper summarizes rural mental health trends, needs of the population, availability of the model nationally, availability of the model in Iowa, empirical support for the model, barriers in general and barriers specific to Iowa.

Proposal to the United States Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry by Michael R. Rosmann
Abstract:  The Department of Agriculture has an obligation to protect the persons who produce food and fiber and to take care of their behavioral and medical health needs.  Historically, federal farm legislation has addressed farm income issues, protection of the environment, food safety and consumer interests, but not the welfare of the food producers themselves.  The purpose of this proposal is to establish a permanent behavioral health support system for the rural agricultural population, including persons engaged in fishing and lumbar harvest throughout the United States.

Agricultural Mental Health by Michael R. Rosmann and Joanne Dvorak

Abstract:  This paper was presented at the National Association for Rural Mental Health in Wilmington, NC in June, 2001 and has been published in Rural Mental Health.  The paper reports on the agricultural mental health training project in Iowa, funded by the Iowa Department of Human Services and grants from the Sowing the Seeds of Hope, Pioneer Community Investments, the Farm Foundation, and other contributors.  Twenty-four outreach volunteers and six mental health professionals were trained in agricultural mental health concepts and tactics in the spring, 2001.  The outreach volunteers are farm men and women, clergy and other persons who are familiar with farming and who provide peer support and help with finding resources for farm families in need of assistance.  This work was conducted by the authors while they were associated with Sharing Help Awareness United Network.  The reference is:  Rosmann, M. R., & Dvorak, J. (2001).  The Agricultural Mental Health Project.  Rural Mental Health, 26(4), 18-22.

A National Proposal for a Mental Health Support System for Farmers and Ranchers by Michael R. Rosmann
Abstract:  America's food producers experience serious occupation-related medical and behavioral health threats.  The National Safety Council (1999)  has ranked farming at or near the top in number of occupation-related injuries, illnesses and fatalities annually.  Not only risky for physical health problems, farmers and ranchers also experience increased risks for substance abuse problems and mental health conditions, especially depression and relationship difficulties.

Agricultural Behavioral Health:  In Critical Need by Michael R. Rosmann

Abstract:  Farmers, farm workers and ranchers comprise a special rural population whose behavioral health care needs are seriously underserved.  This review describes the rural agricultural population, economic and demographic factors affecting the well-being of this population and identifies their unique behavioral health risks.  A number of barriers to effective care are identified, along with recommendations for ameliorating these circumstances.  The author recommends that the critical health care needs of the rural agricultural population should be addressed as a matter of national security.  Additionally, the author suggests significant collaborative efforts that need to be undertaken at the federal, state and rural levels to build a safety net of supports.  The establishment of a national center for agricultural behavioral health is recommended.

Putting the Farmer in Charge of his own Recovery by Dan Wilson

AbstractThis article reviews, in brief fashion, the Farm Wrap Program in northwestern Minnesota, which attempts to connect the farmers with an array of helping services.  This article first appeared in Rural Mental Health.  The reference is:  Wilson, D. (2001).  Putting the farmers in charge of his own recovery.  Rural Mental Health, 26(4), 23-24.

The Ongoing Farm Crisis:  Health, Mental Health and Safety Issues by Roger T. Williams

AbstractThis article reviews efforts by the Wisconsin Farm Center, the Wisconsin Sowing the Seeds of Hope partner, to respond to health, mental health and safety issues of Wisconsin farm families.  This article was first published in Rural Mental Health in the fall, 2001 issue.  The reference is:  Williams, R. T. (2001).  The ongoing farm crisis:  health, mental health and safety issues in Wisconsin.  Rural Mental Health, 26(4), 15-17.

Building hope and health in the rural agricultural community.