Kentucky farmers recognized in Frankfort, awareness raised for their mental health

Farmers were recognized at the state capital Wednesday.
Published: Sep. 20, 2023 at 6:51 PM EDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) -Farmers were recognized at the state capital Wednesday.

It comes as the national agriculture community recognizes National Ag Safety Week, and in Kentucky, Wednesday was farmer appreciation day.

The area between the capital and annex was filled with tractors and tents Wednesday, and lots of people were available to check on farmers’ physical and mental health.

It’s part of the Raising Hope Kentucky initiative. It focused on farmers’ mental health concerns.

Many young people, some associated with Future Farmers of America, talked of high suicide rates among farmers.

Advocates say farmers often ignore their own health because they are just too busy. And people who depend on their products may not understand.

“That from the moment a farmer gets up in the morning to the moment they go to bed at night, they are surrounded with the pressure of making their farm life successful,” said Babette Overman with Raising Hope Kentucky.

People say it’s easy to take for granted what is on the dinner table, to realize where it came from the people that grew it or possibly even the challenges they had producing it.

“We need food, fiber and shelter in our lives. Farmers provide all three of those,” said Rep. Brandon Reed, who says as the fall season arrives, what farmers call harvest season, everyone needs to look out for, and appreciate farmers more.

“So I just want to give a shout-out, share the road, be patient. They are harvesting their crops for the year, and it puts food on our tables. We want to make sure they get back to their families safely,” said Rep. Reed, R-Hodgenville.

Raising Hope Kentucky officials say they have been able to expand their work thanks to millions of dollars of allocations in recent Kentucky state budgets.