Chapter hosts first-ever wellness event


VERSAILLES — On Jan. 29, the Versailles FFA promoted Ag Mental Health and estate planning with a brand new program called “Harvesting Wellness”. Over 150 guests were in attendance for this first time event held at Versailles School cafetorium. The Versailles FFA noticed heightened suicide rates in farmers, and chose to take action to promote mental wellness. The program was made possible through the generous sponsorship of Farm Credit Mid America and Darke County Farm Bureau.

The program started with a delicious free meal that was enjoyed by all guests and during the meal guests also had the opportunity to visit different educational booths that included: OSU Extension, Phelan Insurance-David Coons, Tr-County Board of Recovery Mental Recovery and Be You For You. The meal was followed by a welcome from Zoe Billenstein, Versailles FFA President followed by remarks from Taylor Watkins, Darke County Farm Bureau organizational director as an event sponsor.

The program next consisted of a dinner-theater style demonstration of stressors on farms. Skits were led by FFA members Zoe Billenstein, Riley Kruckeberg, and Colin Batten, with FFA Alumni member Greg McGlinch, Versailles FFA Advisor Dena Wuebker, and Darke County Commissioner Matt Aultman involved. Between each skit there were discussion questions led by the booth attendees; OSU Extension, Farm Bureau, Tri-County Board of Recovery and Mental Health, and Be You and For You. Local assistants touched estate planning, stress management, and overall mental health, specifically of agriculture industry professionals and their families. Versailles FFA member Rhylan Broerman presented her prepared Public Speaking Speech relating to mental health in the agriculture industry.

There was a separate program for kids in the ag classrooms that included games and activities that built on practices of farm safety and mental health. Mental health professionals led the program with their certified information with every family that attended leaving with a care package. The event was to encourage adults and the youth involved in agriculture, and to learn about the importance of mental health.

The program also consisted of a presentation by David Marrison, OSU Professor Interim Director of Farm Financial Management Policy and Institute who spoke on estate planning. In addition, different agencies and organizations spoke about the resources available through their offices which included: presentations from Tri-County Board of Recovery and Mental Julia Rose Coordinator, and Staff member Cody Odom, Bridget Britton OSU Extension Behavioral Health Field Specialist and Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor Nicole Keller and Laurie Lewis representing Be You and For You.

In addition all the guests left with special gifts to remind them of different factors of mental health which included journals, water bottles, t-shirts and Why God Made A Farmer sign designed and cut by Ken Hartke.

The Versailles FFA thanks everyone that attended and a special thank you to Farm Credit Services and Darke County Farm Bureau for their sponsorship of this program and thank you to all the presenters. A special thanks to Versailles FFA President Zoe Billenstein and Vice-President Colin Batten for all their hard work in planning and carrying out the program.

Thank you to everyone who attended and made this event possible.

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