The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship has been awarded $500,000 to expand farmer mental health programs in the state. Funding for the grant comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, and it will help the state agriculture department partner with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach to raise awareness of mental health and wellness resources, and make them more available to farmers and rural communities. This year’s drought and the continued recovery from last year’s derecho are contributing to farmers’ stress this season, said John Lawrence, vice president of ISU Extension and Outreach. “These resources can help farmers and farm families deal with the added stress,” he said. “Those who work with farmers will have access to tools to help them recognize mental health concerns and offer appropriate assistance.” Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig said farmers need to know they are not alone when dealing with added stress and mental health challenges. “We all need help from time to time, and farmers and landowners are no exception. Some of the challenges they face are unique, like long-term financial stress, unpredictable weather and market uncertainty.”