There’s been an increase in the number of calls to the Iowa Rural Concerns Hotline — reminiscent of the volume of calls fielded by hotline operators during the height of the Farm Crisis. Margaret Van Ginkle, the coordinator of the Rural Concerns Hotline, says the number of calls this year has been consistent with levels back in 1985. About 12-hundred farmers have phoned the hotline in each of the past three months. Van Ginkle says some of the callers are seeking legal advice. Others take advantage of the stress counseling or the five free vouchers for counseling which can be given to farm families that don’t have such counseling covered by a health care policy. Van Ginkle says in August and September, the farmers who called were concerned about yields but lately many are talking about 2003 as their final harvest. Van Ginkle says finances have just gotten too tight for many farmers. Van Ginkle says they’re hearing from farmers who’re deciding to let their farms “go down the drain” because prices have fluctuated so radically lately, income’s been down and many have lost that other off-the-farm job that helped make ends meet. The toll-free number for the Iowa Concerns Hotline is 1-800-447-1985. You can also visit www.extension.iastate.edu/iowaconcern/ to have an on-line, one-on-one conversation with a counselor.
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