The Minnesota Farmer Assistance Network (MFAN) was established within the Minnesota Department of Agriculture in the summer of 2009. MFAN’s purpose is to be a one-call place to access a wide variety of resources for farm families under stress. Partners in the network include over a dozen education, counseling and social service agencies.
An Extension working-group determined two audiences that needed to know more about what the network offered were other Extension staff (professional and support staff), and the agriculture lending officers of Minnesota banks. These people often have the first contact point at which farmers and their family members express concern, needs, or frustration with their personal or economic situation.
The working team developed a series of one-hour webinars for the purpose of telling those audiences what MFAN is, who the partners are, what kinds of services and assistance are available, and how to direct farm families in stress to the system.
Three webinars were conducted for Extension staff and two for lenders. The Minnesota Bankers Association agriculture committee assisted with the needs assessment, promotion and delivery of the program for their members.
Evaluations following the webinars show participants were confident they understood the resources available and their ability to direct people to the MFAN resources.