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Minnesota State adds additional rural mental health specialist

AgCentric, Minnesota State’s Northern Center of Excellence is excited to announce the addition of farmer mental health services through Monica McConkey. McConkey comes to AgCentric with a strong agricultural background and a wealth of behavioral health experience.

McConkey grew up on a farm in northwest Minnesota and remembers well the challenge agriculture faced in the 1980s and seeing similar challenges today. Additionally, McConkey has worked in the mental health sector for the past 25 years, both in direct service and administration. Her background includes work with youth and adults, covering a wide range of human emotional challenges that will be a real asset to her new position. In the past two years, McConkey has been sharing more publicly on topics of emotional stress with farmers and ag industry groups through her consulting business Eyes on the Horizon. Most recently, McConkey participated in the MDA-sponsored project TransFARMation with her father.

This additional resource for farm families is being funded by the 2019 legislature’s actions to grow mental health resources in Minnesota. McConkey will work collaboratively with current specialist Ted Mathews, the Minnesota Agricultural Centers of Excellence, Minnesota Department of Agriculture, and farm industry groups to reach farmers and their families to support them in these times of economic stress.

AgCentric, along with the Southern Agriculture Center of Excellence, leads the Minnesota Farm Business Management Program that will work closely with both McConkey and Mathews. Farmers enrolled in this program have direct access to these resources. Farm Business Management instructors work with farmers on financials, as well as identify signs of unhealthy stress, depression, and often serve as a catalyst for connecting farm families and these two professionals.

McConkey is excited to join the team at AgCentric on October 1. She resides in Detroit Lakes and will focus serving farmers in the northern half of the state, but will work closely with Ted to cover farmer need despite location on a case-by-case basis. McConkey can be contacted at 218-280-7785 or through her website www.eyesonthehorizon.org.

About Jessie Perrine

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