Tricounty News

Assistance available for farmers facing difficulties

The USDA Crop and Weather Report for June 10, 2013 is striking in contrast to last year’s report: www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_by_State/Minnesota/Publications/Crop_Progress_&_Condition/. Last year by that time 100 percent of most crops had been planted and had emerged, and 84 percent of oats were in the joint stage. This year the percentages are far lower on all counts; and the percentage of crops in good to excellent condition is below 75 percent for all crops. It’s no news to Minnesota farmers that the late spring has pushed many planting dates out past the allowed dates for program crops. Farmers may be facing financial difficulties and higher than usual levels of personal stress as a result. Being stressed-out is something to take seriously. There are two helpline numbers that are available to farmers, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, all year long:

Minnesota Farmer Assistance Network (MFAN) provides business and financial guidance at no cost to Minnesota farmers and farm families facing economic hardship. www.mda.state.mn.us/mfan; 1-877-898-MFAN.

Crisis Connection is a nonprofit agency that provides 24-hour crisis counseling by telephone. www.crisis.org; (866) 379-6363.