The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is offering two new ways farmers and others involved in agriculture can contact the Minnesota Farm and Rural Helpline – via text and e-mail.

“We want to make it as easy as possible for our farmers to get the help they need when they need it,” said Thom Petersen, agriculture commissioner. “COVID-19 has come on top of several years of high costs, low prices and bad weather for farmers. We know chronic stress takes a toll on people and can really affect the way they cope with challenging situations.”

The confidential service, available 24/7, connects Minnesota farmers and others in the agricultural community to counselors who can serve as a sounding board, provide emotional support, link callers with a rural mental health specialist or help them find information about financial and legal resources. Users are welcome to remain anonymous. 

The farm and rural helpline contact options now include:

• Phone (toll free): 833-600-2670

• Text: FARMSTRESS to 898211

• E-mail: farmstress@state.mn.us

The state ag department also encourages people who are worried about family or friends and aren’t sure how to help to use this service.

The MDA’s companion “Coping with Farm and Rural Stress in Minnesota” Web site at www.minnesotafarmstress.com received 4,600 visits in 2019, and it has already seen more than 5,000 in the first six months of 2020.