Inaugural Y Prize for mental health

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.

To contribute to the Yvonne Lesicko Memorial Fund, visit the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation website at OhioFarmBureau.org/donate. 

The Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation, a 501(c) (3) charitable, nonprofit organization, understands the need to inspire innovation and cultivate investment in Ohio’s farm and food community. Learn more by visiting OhioFarmBureau.org/foundation.

This is a news release for use by journalists. Questions should be directed to Ty Higgins, 614-246-8231 or [email protected].

Editors: A high-resolution photo of Ms. Dellifield is available for download.

Caption: Lesicko’s siblings presented the Y Prize to Dellifield. Pictured from left: Annette Houck, Lawrence Houck, Janene Kehl, Dellifield and Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation Executive Director Kelly Burns.

Having opportunities to attend leadership institutes, advocate for rural Ohioans on the state and national level, facilitate young ag professionals events, and serve in a variety of leadership positions have helped my skills grow exponentially.
Sara Tallmadge's avatar
Sara Tallmadge

Ashland County Farm Bureau

Growing our Generation
Labor has always been an issue, mainly because we are a seasonal operation. So that's a challenge finding somebody who only wants to work three months out of a year, sometimes up to six months.
Mandy Way's avatar
Mandy Way

Way Farms

Business Solutions
If it wasn't for Farm Bureau, I personally, along with many others, would not have had the opportunity to meet with our representatives face to face in Washington.
Austin Heil's avatar
Austin Heil

Hardin County Farm Bureau

Washington, D.C. Leadership Experience
I was gifted the great opportunity through an Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation Youth Pathways grant to run a series of summer camps here. That really expanded my vision of what ‘grow, maintain, sustain and explain’ could actually be.
Jim Bruner's avatar
Jim Bruner

Mezzacello Urban Farms

Farming for Good
I see the value and need to be engaged in the community I live in, to be a part of the decision-making process and to volunteer with organizations that help make our community better.
Matt Aultman's avatar
Matt Aultman

Darke County Farm Bureau

Leadership development
So many of the issues that OFBF and its members are advocating for are important to all Ohioans. I look at OFBF as an agricultural watchdog advocating for farmers and rural communities across Ohio.
Mary Smallsreed's avatar
Mary Smallsreed

Trumbull County Farm Bureau

Advocacy
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