Hotline in South Dakota to help farmers

South Dakota News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Between the ongoing trade disputes and the wet weather we’ve had this year, a number of issues are impacting midwest farmers and their industry causing increased stress for farmers and ranchers. A hotline in South Dakota is working to help farmers who are feeling overwhelmed.

Massive amounts of rain this past spring caused widespread flooding.

It was so wet for so long, many farmers couldn’t get their crops planted, causing them a lot of stress.

“It’s been an incredibly difficult time for farmers,” Thomas Otten Assistant Vice-President of Avera Behavioral Health said.

That’s why Avera established the Farmer’s Stress Hotline. They’ve been taking 12 to 15 calls a week since it was set up.

“Is it a huge number, you can decide for yourself, but for those 12 – 15 farmers who are calling it’s a really big thing,” Otten said.

The hotline is staffed with mental health professionals who are here to talk with farmers and ranchers who might be struggling mentally or even financially.

“I would say half of the calls we get are from farmers themselves and half our calls come from a loved one, a spouse or child who is very concerned about their mother or father,” Otten said.

Some of the callers may need more than just a talk.

“Obviously if you’ve been struggling some emotionally, financially, one of the things you don’t have is money,” Avera Ambassador Jim Woster said.

That’s why now Avera is accepting donations to help farmers or ranchers pay for any services that they may require.

“Whether it’s counseling, medication or perhaps even a day or two of impatient and you have a $10 thousand dollar deductible or maybe nothing at all, with the dollars that are raised or donated are going to apply that to those folks who flat out do not have the money,” Woster said.

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