Northern Ag Network
Northern Ag Network (the Network) is a family owned and operated radio and television network in Montana, Wyoming and the Western Dakotas. The Network, which provides hourly farm news and market reports, weather programs and special features, launched the award-winning “Beyond the Weather” campaign in 2022 focusing on mental health. The goal of this public awareness campaign is to unite rural communities by eliminating the stigma surrounding talking about mental health and seeking support and by empowering local leaders to create lasting grassroots change.
In agriculture, weather is often the first topic discussed in the morning and also the last one at the end of the day. So, what does it mean to go “Beyond the Weather” as it relates to mental health? An entire conversation could be spent talking about the weather instead of discussing the deeper hardships and opportunities a neighbor might be experiencing. But thoughts and feelings are as universal as the weather. By going beyond the weather and talking about mental health challenges and strategies, people can become more content and productive.
In November 2002, the Northern Ag Network received a national award for the Best Radio Commercial Series from the National Association of Farm Broadcasting for “Beyond the Weather.” Northern Ag Network Vice President, Courtney Kibblewhite said, “This work is really about creating a movement. We are so proud of our western culture and the grit in our blood. We have to create the narrative for our next generation that we are not only tough enough to endure…through drought and blizzards and bad markets…but we are also tough enough to ask for help.”
The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation has made a $100,000 grant to support the “Beyond the Weather” campaign to support research, convenings and communications efforts. We are excited to help the Network expand upon their innovative model that is supporting rural and underserved populations.