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Farming with No or Little Profit Leads to Stress

By David Bau, Extension Educator

There is no question that farming can be a stressful business. But when profits are small and cash flows becomes tight, stress builds up. A big problem in this equation is while farmers are so busy caring for everything else; they sometimes forget to care for themselves. Stress management may not seem like the most important topic to farmers, but it is critical to your health and your success.

If you still feel like something isn’t right or you can’t get a handle on your stress, don’t be afraid to ask for help.  There are many University of Minnesota Extension resources available to help you work through your stress.

Call Farm Information Line to set up a financial counseling session at 1-800-232-9077. Financial counseling is free and completely confidential. Extension farm financial experts from areas like banking and farm business management education provide free, one-on-one financial counseling to farmers who are experiencing financial stress.

These analysts will help you understand your financial situation, explore options, and identify alternatives to help alleviate the financial stress caused by the current agricultural climate.

Farmer-Lender Mediation will help work through, this Extension program has provided mediation services to more than 24,000 cases since 1986. Creditors begin the mediation process by sending our Farmer-Lender Mediation office a notice of debts greater than $15,000. The state mediation office will send debtors information, including a Request for Mandatory Mediation Form.  Debtors must return that form within 14 days if they want mediation. Make sure to identify all the creditors necessary for your farming operation.
Another Extension website: Resources for Difficult Times can be found at: 

Here you will find:

Minnesota Farm and Rural Helpline
Free, confidential, available 24/7. This call center is located in Minnesota. Calls are answered by trained staff and volunteers. If you or someone you know is struggling with stress, anxiety, depression or suicidal thoughts -- call. Sometimes it's easier to talk to someone you don't know. 833-600-2670 x1

Mental Health and Family Services Line
Farm Aid works with farm advocates, counselors and hotline operators that can help you in your time of need. 1-800-FARM-AID

Ted Matthews, rural mental health counselor
Ted Matthews works with farmers across the entire state. No cost; no paperwork. This service is available thanks to funds from the Minnesota State Legislature. 320-266-2390

Minnesota Farm Advocates - "Farmers Helping Farmers"
Farm Advocates provide one-to-one assistance for Minnesota farmers who face crisis caused by either a natural disaster or financial problems. Farm Advocates understand the needs of agricultural families and communities. They are trained and experienced in agricultural lending practices, mediation, lender negotiation, farm programs, crisis counseling and disaster programs, and to recognize needs for legal and/or social services. There is no charge or fee for Farm Advocate assistance. Hotline: 1-800-967-AGRI (2474)

The Minnesota Family Farm Law Project
MFFLP is a program that provides legal assistance to financially distressed family farmers in Minnesota in conjunction with Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services (SMRLS) offices. Services are free or provided at reduced cost to eligible farmers. In general, priority is given to cases to prevent foreclosure on family farm homesteads and repossession of farm machinery, equipment, livestock, crops and real estate that are necessary to the farm operation. In addition, priority is given to cases to secure the release of income from farm production and/or obtain the extension of credit for family living and farm operating expenses. Toll free information and referral line: 1-800-233-4534.

Farmers' Legal Action Group, Inc.
FLAG is a nonprofit law center dedicated to providing legal services to family farmers and their rural communities in order to help keep family farmers on the land. 1-877-860-4349

Minnesota Farm and Rural Stress website has many resources put together by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. You can find website at:

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