Farmer's Stress Hotline

South Dakota Community Foundation

The Farm and Rural Stress Hotline through Avera Health launched in January and is now averaging up to three calls a day. The South Dakota Community Foundation awarded a $10,000 grant to support the on Wednesday.

Ginger Niemann is the senior program officer with the South Dakota Community Foundation. She says the foundation was eager to support the hotline because it serves farmers and ranchers across the state who are facing a long period of difficulties that can impact mental health.

Avera Health

It’s been a tough spring for the state’s farmers and ranchers.  Wide-spread flooding earlier this year has pushed back planting--and that’s just the most recent challenge for South Dakota’s ag producers. Financial uncertainty can lead to anxiety and depression. But now there’s some help for farmers and ranchers, and those who work closely  with them. 

Walt Bones runs a family farm about 15 miles southwest of Sioux Falls. He grows corn and soybeans and raises cattle. It’s another rainy spring morning when he answers my call from his truck near his fence-line feed bunks.

Avera Health

The Farmer’s Stress Hotline is seeing an increase in calls after multiple weather systems impacted the upper Midwest. Avera Behavioral Health began offering the 24-hour service dedicated to farmers and ranchers in January.

Karl Oehlke is a Physician Assistant in psychiatry with Avera in Sioux Falls. He says he’s heard from callers across the region, including an increase from the northeastern corner of Nebraska and parts of Minnesota.