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UK weekly webinar series to help Kentucky farm families work through current economic challenges


By Katie Pratt
University of Kentucky

The COVID-19 pandemic has put financial, physical, mental and emotional strains on many Americans, including farm families.

To help them work through these unprecedented challenges, the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment is hosting “Crossing through This: Managing Farm and Family in 2020,” a weekly webinar series.

The series begins July 23 and will go live the of following three Thursdays at 7 p.m. EDT/6 p.m. CDT. Hosted by UK agricultural economist Steve Isaacs, the series will feature internationally and nationally renowned speakers in agricultural lending, agribusiness, and agriculture health, safety and wellness.

“These are difficult times for the financial well-being and family well-being of Kentucky farms,” Isaacs said. “This series of Thursday evening webinars is targeted for the whole family.”

Webinar speakers and topics include:

• July 23: David Kohl, professor emeritus at Virginia Tech. A highly sought-after educator with insights and extensive research in agribusiness, Kohl will discuss the impacts of the pandemic, current economic challenges for farm families and prospects for the future.

• July 30: Kohl will discuss the four pillars of business success. He and Isaacs will be joined by Mark Barker, senior vice president for agricultural lending with Farm Credit Mid-America, who will talk about why it’s important for producers to have open lines of communication with their lender. Deborah Reed, UK nursing professor who is internationally renowned for her work in agriculture health and safety, will provide tips for personal well-being.

• Aug. 6: Kohl will discuss life after government supports. Reed will provide additional well-being tips. They will be joined by Brian Lacefield, Kentucky’s executive director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency. Lacefield will talk about current FSA programs and loans that can help producers navigate these challenging times.

-• Aug. 13: Kohl will present business planning and mental health. Reed will discuss ways farmers and their family members can maintain optimal physical and mental health during times of great uncertainty.

Individuals can register online at https://bit.ly/2020FarmFamily. Registration is required and closes July 20. Once registered, individuals will receive links to view each of the webinars. Participants will be able to ask questions during the sessions.

Additional information is available through county offices of the UK Cooperative Extension Service or by contacting Sarah Hanks, UK senior extension associate, at sarahlovetthanks@uky.edu or (859) 218-3323.

Katie Pratt writes for the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.

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