DATCP: Free weekend retreats offered for farm men, farm couples

Contact: Kathy Schmitt 608-224-5048

MADISON – Wisconsin farmers can participate in free weekend getaways in February and March, sponsored by Sowing the Seeds of Hope and aimed at helping them regain perspective.

Four getaways will be offered:

* Feb. 20-21, Ramada Inn, Fond du Lac, for farm men

* March 6-7, Holiday Inn, Manitowoc, for farm couples

* March 6-7, AmericInn Lodge and Suites, Tomah, for farm couples

* March 20-21, Stoney Creek Inn, Rothschild, for farm couples

Each weekend retreat will be for a small group, providing a chance to get away from the farm and focus on relationships, communication skills, stress management and goal-setting. Experienced facilitators will lead the getaways. Sowing the Seeds of Hope will pay for all lodging, meals, and materials. Participants may also be eligible for a stipend to offset the cost of replacement farm labor, child care, or travel expenses.

Participation is first-come, first-served, so early registration is encouraged. For information or to register, call Chris Eickhoff, 608-224-5052; Kathy Schmitt, 608-224-5048; or the Wisconsin Farm Center, 800-942-2474.

Sowing the Seeds of Hope is a project designed by the Wisconsin Office of Rural Health and the Wisconsin Primary Health Care Association, supported by public and private grants. Many organizations involved in rural life issues are partners in the project, including the Wisconsin Farm Center, housed in the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. Besides the getaways, Seeds of Hope also offers a counseling program and training for professionals who work with farmers.