The Biggest Asset Is You

February 22, 2023
Scrabble tiles spelling out the word ANXIETY

Utah State University (USU) Extension professor Josh Dallin had just wrapped up a presentation about livestock before an audience of farmers and ranchers, and he asked if there was any other information his listeners needed. The response was surprisingly out of the ordinary. “One of our largest cattle producers raised his hand and said, ‘I’m worried about my friends and their mental health,’” Dallin recalls. The producer had heard several ranching friends say they had thought about suicide.

The cattle producer’s insights into the personal lives of his friends and neighbors showed the USU Extension staff the need for wider mental health outreach in their county. “We jumped into action,” says Dallin. In the ensuing months they applied for and received a grant from Western SARE’s Professional Development Program. The funds helped them conduct a mental health needs assessment across the state. Informed by the survey results, the Extension staff formed an Ag Wellness Team. Also supported by the grant, the team soon developed a mental health training titled “The Biggest Asset is You.”

The most important asset on your farm or ranch is you. For more information on agriculture and mental health, watch "The Biggest Asset Is You." USU Extension's Ag Wellness website, created in partnership with the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food, provides additional mental health resources for farmers.  

This story is part of a series highlighting SARE projects using innovative strategies to help farmers and ranchers manage rural stress. Visit for more information.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, please contact the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.

Topics: Education and Training, Quality of Life, Sustainable Communities
Related Locations: North Central, Northeast, South, West