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June 2022


The first Tuesday of each quarter in 2022, Tennessee AgrAbility hosts Assistive Technology Tuesdays. May featured Chad Reznicek. He is the behavioral health specialist with the Colorado AgrAbility Project and is committed to helping expand and improve behavioral health support and resources in rural communities. He has 20 years of experience as a licensed therapist with special focus in suicide prevention, trauma, mood disorders, and substance abuse. He was raised in a small farming community in central Nebraska with a deep respect for agriculture as the heart of our rural communities.

Reznicek states "Farmers and ranchers are uniquely vulnerable to mental health challenges for a number of reasons." He also added, "(Agricultural culture) is about picking yourself up by your bootstraps; you work until the job is done. You're quick to help other people, but you don't want to burden anyone yourself; all those things are really resilient and positive qualities, but the downside is it makes it really hard to ask for help."

Chad emphasized the need to understand the impact of agriculture's unique challenges on the human brain. In better understanding this, the question can be changed from "What's wrong with me?" to "What's happening to me?" This will help with the steps taken to manage stress.

Read more about Chad's work with Colorado AgrAbility to help others with mental/behavioral health issues. The webinar recording can be found on the Tennessee AgrAbility website here.

AgrAbility participated in the AgriStress Network national "Think Tank" style virtual meeting through the AgriStress Response Network. The objective of the monthly meetings is to engage innovative ideas and strategies to serve the farming and ranching community in the area of mental health.

Photo of smiling man from waist up looking down at camera & wearing brown buttoned shirt with tan sport coatTN AgrAbility joined in the informative virtual forum on farm stress "Sustainable Livelihoods and Behavioral Health: Strategies to Address Farm Stress and Suicide" hosted by U.S. Department of Agriculture. America's farmers and ranchers are resilient, but this does not always shield them from farm stress. Powerful start to the conference with Erin Kimbrough (Texas AgrAbility) and her husband John (Marine veteran and first responder) sharing their personal story and struggles on "Growing on Faith Farm" and working to help other farmer veterans thru the Texas Battleground to Breaking Ground transition program. The panel discussions included Dale Dobson, KY Department of Ag and AgrAbility friend who has always been a strong voice for farmers and first responders plus an advocate for farm safety and now farmer mental health, who shared the impactful value of a handshake. Find more information HERE.

TN AgrAbility and UT Gardens hosted a Veterans Therapeutic Horticulture Workshop for Frontline Gardens and Master Gardeners in May. Dr. Derrick Stowell designed this workshop for veterans or law enforcement personnel who have received a garden from FrontLine Gardens. Research shows that exposure to nature and gardening can improve mental health outcomes for veterans. This workshop explores 1) The therapeutic benefits of gardening; 2) Career options for veterans and opportunities to learn how TN AgrAbility Project can assist veterans and farmers with disabilities; 3) Opportunities to network with other veterans with similar interests and 4) Connections with a Master Gardener who can provide garden education throughout the growing season. Learn more at

Submitted by Tennessee AgrAbility Project