Missouri Food Finder

A new online tool, the Missouri Food Finder, is connecting consumers with people growing and selling locally produced food in their region.

Developed by University of Missouri Extension in collaboration with the Mis­souri Department of Agriculture, the site helps address the economic impact of COVID-19 on producers and consumers.

“This easy-to-use resource will help farmers and small businesses continue to thrive, while also helping families find nutritious local and regional food options,” said Marshall Stewart, MU vice chancellor for extension and en­gagement.

Farmers, growers and local suppliers can enter basic information about the food they sell, their hours, location and contact information. That information will automatically show up on a Missouri map. Consumers simply type in their lo­cation to see what options are available in the area they select.

To access the Missouri Food Finder, visit www.MOFoodFinder.org.

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Farm State of Mind campaign transitions to American Farm Bureau

The often-taboo topic of mental health among farmers hits close to home for Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, who lost his wife of 40 years, Bonnie, to cancer on Jan. 18. Speaking at the Commodity Classic in San Antonio a little more than a month later, Duvall described his emotional turmoil after her death.

“The first two weeks, I held a lot of that inside of me, and I almost exploded. Then I started talking about it, and it made me feel better,” Duvall said, his voice trembling. “There’s nothing shameful about it. We love our farmers and neighbors. We want them to have a relief valve and a place to find some help.”

This personal revelation came during a Feb. 27 press conference in which Duvall and Lisa Safarian, president of Bayer Crop Science for North America, announced that the American Farm Bureau would take over administration of Bayer’s Farm State of Mind campaign. The initiative was created last year to provide information and resources on mental health to the farming community, and Safarian said transitioning the program to Farm Bureau will greatly expand its reach and effectiveness.

“We felt strongly that we needed to identify another organiza­tion to help take this to the next level,” she said. “Farm Bureau is the right choice to drive this important work forward.”

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and farmers are a par­ticularly high-risk population for stress and suicide, Duvall said. In a 2019 survey conducted by Farm Bureau, nearly half of rural adults said they are personally experiencing more mental health challenges than they were a year ago. At the same time, farmers are two times less likely than other rural adults to talk to a friend or family member about solutions for a mental health condition.

Farm Bureau will combine the Farm State of Mind assets with its ongoing Rural Resilience campaign. Together, the programs are designed to encourage open dialogue and offer tips, resources and referrals for mental health needs.

“In our conversations about mental stress and mental health, we hope that we can show our farmers and our rural communities that it’s OK to talk about it,” Duvall said. “Our farmers can’t carry this burden alone. We need to talk about it to each other. We need to lean on each other.”

Find more information online at www.fb.org/programs/ rural-resilience.

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New leaders elected to MFA board

The MFA Incorporated Board of Directors has three new members after district meetings and elections were held the last week of February.

Frank Schieber of Stanberry, Mo., was elected to represent District 1. Schieber runs a diversified farming operation with row crops, hay, pasture and beef cattle and has been a member of MFA since 1983. He replaces outgoing director Barry Kagay of Amity, Mo., whose term ended in March.

Craig Lambert of Pattonsburg, Mo., was elected as the new direc­tor for District 4, filling the position vacated by Carlton Spencer of Faucett, Mo. A member of MFA since 1980, Lambert and his two daughters raise row crops and hay and run a cow/calf operation.

Dwayne Schad of Versailles, Mo., was elected to represent District 8. He replaces Davis Callis of Seda­lia, Mo., whose term ended in March. Schad runs a diversified row-crop, hay and beef cattle operation and has been a patron and member of MFA for more than 45 years, first purchasing inputs for his high school FFA project in the early 1970s.

Re-elected to their positions on the MFA board were Don Schlesselman of Concordia, Mo., District 5, and Wayne Nichols of Pomona, Mo., District 13. Members of the corporate board are eligible to serve three-year terms and are limited to four consecutive terms.

In addition to elections, the February meetings in each of MFA’s 14 districts gave farmer-owners a chance to learn about the cooper­ative’s financial progress, hear from management and operating divi­sions and get updated on highlights from their respective regions.

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