ST. PAUL — The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is offering two new ways to contact the Minnesota Farm and Rural Helpline: text and email.

“We want to make it as easy as possible for our farmers to get the help they need when they need it,” said Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen. “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. 

Contact options now include: toll free phone, (833) 600-2670; text, FARMSTRESS to 898211;j and email, farmstress@state.mn.us.

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

This article was submitted by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.