In this Sept. 17, 2021, a man leads his cows back to the pasture after the morning milking at his family's farm in Penobscot. Credit: Robert F. Bukaty / AP

Maine is using a federal grant to try to help the state’s farmers deal with stress.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has given the state $500,000 toward the effort. Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Commissioner Amanda Beal said Wednesday the grant would support the Maine Farmer and Rancher Stress Assistance Network.

Farmers in Maine and beyond have had to contend with the coronavirus pandemic, droughts and supply chain difficulties in recent months and years, Beal said. She said the stress assistance network will provide direct service for farmers as well as referrals for farmers anticipating stress and conflict.

The effort will also involve broadening the providers who understand the needs of agriculture workers, Beal said.