The Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation recognized Jami Dellifield with the first ever Yvonne Lesicko Perseverance Prize, or Y Prize for short, for her innovative work on farmer mental health initiatives.
Dellifield serves as a Family and Consumer Sciences educator with Ohio State University Extension’s Hardin County office. After seeing the stress effects of farm life on producers in her area, Dellifield led the charge of bringing farmer mental health to the forefront of her efforts. Dellifield took it upon herself to find training and resources – not just for herself, but for others in OSU Extension to address farm stress issues.
The Y Prize is a new award created by the Yvonne Lesicko Memorial Fund. The fund was created in 2020 to honor Yvonne Lesicko, former vice president of public policy for Ohio Farm Bureau. The fund, within the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation, was established to support the causes and initiatives that were important to Lesicko.
“I am beyond honored to be a part of this as I think about all of the amazing things that Yvonne did to keep the mental health of farmers and our entire community a priority,” Dellifield said. “She was a true leader and did so much for this very important issue for agriculture.”
Dellifield is a trainer and an advocate for mental health literacy programs such as Mental Health First Aid and Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR), where the focus is on improving knowledge of signs and symptoms of mental health and substance use problems. She has taught well over 1,000 farmers and farm youth around the state and also has been a trainer for professionals working with farm communities.
As the 2021 Y Prize award winner, Dellifield will be given a platform to share her work and the efforts of Ohio State University Extension for farm stress and mental health. Dellifield will be a presenter at the 2022 Young Ag Professionals Winter Leadership Experience. All of this is part of the award’s goal of lessening the stigma surrounding mental health issues.