Times are tough in ag. Low commodity prices, rising input costs, and crop marketing challenges introduced by trade and tariff disputes have placed downward pressure on rural customers’ finances. For the fourth year in a row, the average Minnesota farmer is expected to lose money in 2018. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture reports that 80 percent of people who work with farmers recognize growing financial concerns, which is causing increased stress and other mental health concerns.
Financial stress amongst farmers affects farm families and entire communities. A 2017 study by the Centers for Disease Control found that individuals who work in agriculture take their own lives at a rate higher than any other occupation and 17 times higher than the general population. Experts say financial stress exacerbates other, smaller stressors pushing rural workers more frequently into crisis.
So, what can you do as their community banker?
The MDA provides farmers, farm families and business operators facing increased stress access to mental health resources and support services through the Minnesota Farm and Rural Helpline.
To help spread the word on this important resource, ICBM has created a free public service flyer for you to download, print and display at your institution. The flyer encourages people in distress to seek assistance. The flyer includes the MDA’s mental health hotline number (833-600-2670), which is free, confidential and answered 24 hours a day.
We encourage your bank to download the Farm and Rural Helpline Flyer and display this resource in a prominent area of your bank.
Download, print, and display ICBM’s Farm and Rural Helpline Flyer.