Between international trade troubles and the continued rain that’s hampering the harvest, many Iowa farmers are getting stressed.
Tammy Jacobs, a coordinator with the Iowa Concern Hotline, says they’ve seen a slow but steady increase in the number of calls from farmers in recent months, with a 10 percent spike in July alone. Jacobs says the pressure of the harvest can ratchet up nerves.
“We are starting to see a little bit of activity towards that,” Jacobs says, “but I’m going to anticipate that as we get into getting the harvest finished up in October and November and as things start to hit home, we’re going to see an even greater increase in our calls at that point in time.” Commodity prices remain low and demand for some grains is dipping due to trade disputes. Also, some areas of Iowa have seen rain almost daily for two weeks straight. It’s created muddy fields and flooding in some areas and farmers are rightfully concerned about their crops.
Jacobs says, “The calls that we’re receiving at this point in time is those frustrations and struggles for farmers to get out into the fields, having some good days to get harvesting done and how that’s going to have an impact on their overall yield for the year.” The hotline’s phone lines are staffed 24-seven, so there’s always a real, live person you can talk to about anything that’s worrying you.
“Through our website, we have a ‘live chat’ so if people don’t want to talk on the phone, they can get on the computer and type in the situation going on and someone is going to be able to respond right then to what the situation is, get them pointed in the right direction and just be there to talk to them,” Jacobs says. The service was launched at the height of the Farm Crisis in 1985 as the Rural Concern Hotline, but during the floods of 1993, shifted gears to address problems beyond agriculture, becoming the Iowa Concern Hotline.
The toll-free number is 800-447-1985 and the website is: www.extension.iastate.edu/iowaconcern.
(Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City contributed to this report.)