Members appointed to Farmers Suicide Prevention Task Force

Members appointed to Farmers Suicide Prevention Task Force

The Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network (TSPN) in partnership with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture announced the formation of the Farmers Suicide
Prevention Task Force (FSPTF).

This joint effort of TSPN and the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, which was created and approved by the TSPN Gubernatorial appointed Advisory Council, will work to proactively address the issue of suicide in Tennessee. The task force will meet to create and carry out action items to proactively reach this population.

TSPN’s Executive Director, Scott Ridgway, MS, expressed his enthusiasm, stating “with the support of the Task Force members, TSPN will be better prepared to assist Tennessee Farmers in getting the help they need to continue to prevent suicide in our state.”

Many of the factors that affect agricultural production are largely beyond the control of the producer. Specific stressors for this population include financial concerns, personal or family concerns, work-related injuries, loss of crop or livestock and weather.

“Farming isn’t just a job – it’s a life’s work,” Agriculture Commissioner Jai Templeton said. “Many Tennessee farmers are facing challenges right now and experiencing different kinds of stress. However, those in the agriculture community look after one another. Our producers deserve access to resources that support them, and we plan to provide just that.”

The Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network addresses farmers specifically on its website,

Members on the Task Force represent Centerstone, the Farm Animal Care Coalition of Tennessee, Farm Credit, Middle Tennessee State University, Tennessee Cattleman’s Association, Tennessee Dairy Producers Association, Tennessee Farm Bureau, Tennessee Farmer’s Co-op, Tennessee Pork Producers, Tennessee Poultry Association, Tennessee Soybean Association, Tennessee State University, University of Tennessee, and University of Tennessee Extensions.

The members of the Task Force are:

  • Co-chair: Carol Coley McDonald, Tennessee Department of Agriculture, Assistant Commissioner, Policy and Legislation
  • Co-chair: Scott Ridgway, MS., TSPN Executive Director
  • Centerstone: Lee Fields Wambles, Criminal Justice, Liaison Coordinator
  • Farm Animal Care Coalition of Tennessee: Lou Nave, Executive Director
  • Farm Credit: Scott Lewis, Relationship Manager
  • Middle Tennessee State University: Dr. Chaney Mosley, Assistant Professor, Agricultural Education
  • Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association: Charles Hord, Executive Vice President
  • Tennessee Dairy Producers Association: Stan Butt, Executive Director
  • Tennessee Farm Bureau representative: Dan Strasser, Director of Special Programs
  • Tennessee Farmer’s Co-op: Ryan King, Event and Marketing Coordinator
  • Tennessee Pork Producers: Phyllis Ferguson, Executive Vice President
  • Tennessee Poultry Association: Dale Barnett, Executive Director
  • Tennessee Soybean Association: Richard Jameson, Member of TN Soybean Promotion Board
  • Tennessee State University: Lauren Kennedy, Ph.D, Finis Stribling III, Jennifer Goodrich, Extension Services
  • University of Tennessee: Dr. Emily Paskewitz, Assistant Professor, School of Communication Studies
  • University of Tennessee Extension: Dr. Heather Wallace, Assistant Professor, Family and Consumer Sciences
  • University of Tennessee Extension: Ms. Mary Beth Henley, Franklin Co. Director & Ext. Agent III

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