March 6, 2024

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is partnering with three other state agencies and organizations to offer free virtual suicide prevention trainings for rural faith leaders in Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Clergy and lay leaders who serve congregations of all faiths and denominations are welcome.

“We recognize that faith is an important element in the lives of many farm families,” said MDA Commissioner Thom Petersen. “Teaching suicide prevention and intervention skills to trusted community members like clergy can help provide more emotional support for farm and rural residents."

The four-week Suicide Prevention Skills for Rural Ministry trainings will pair an online curriculum from LivingWorks Faith with weekly discussion sessions held via Zoom so participants can deepen their learning in a pastoral context with their peers.

The trainings will teach faith leaders how to recognize and engage with someone who is having suicidal thoughts, connect that person to help, and support family and community members who have been affected by suicide. LivingWorks Director of Faith Community Engagement Glen Bloomstrom will facilitate the trainings with support from other team members.

The trainings will be offered during three different sessions starting April 16, April 18, and September 17. Interested participants must enroll for their preferred cohort by April 5, 2024, at

Program partners include Farm Well Wisconsin, the South Dakota Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and the Minnesota Department of Health.

Financial support for these trainings comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture, under agreement number 2023-38640-39573 through the North Central Region SARE program under project number ENC23-227. USDA is an equal opportunity employer and service provider.


Media Contact
Logan Schumacher, MDA Communications