The National Council of Farmer Cooperatives urges the Department of Agriculture to focus on the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has on farmers’ mental health. 

In a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue this week, the organization says, “for some, mental health may become as or more important than financial health.” 

Farmers have reached the point of decisions to destroy or abandon their produce, dump their milk, and even destroy livestock. 

The letter states, “The frustration of seeing the value of your hard work going for naught can compound feelings of depression.” 

The letter notes that USDA, together with the Department of Health and Human Services’ Federal Office of Rural Health Policy, has been active for several years to help producers struggling with farm stress. 

The organization says USDA could leverage this experience at this time to provide a lifeline to farmers and ranchers struggling with the impacts of this crisis. 

The letter suggests that USDA convey to producers that they are not alone, this is not their fault, and they will get through this pandemic and its impact on agriculture.