AgCentric, Minnesota State’s Northern Center of Excellence, announced 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, according to a news release. 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 youths and adults, covering a wide range of human emotional challenges. In the past two years, McConkey has shared publicly on topics of emotional stress with farmers and ag industry groups through her consulting business Eyes on the Horizon. Most recently, she participated in the Minnesota Department of Agriculture-sponsored project TransFARMation with her father.

This additional resource for farm families is 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 will join the team at AgCentric Oct. 1. She resides in Detroit Lakes and will focus serving farmers in the northern half of the state, but will work closely with Matthews 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.