Resources Available to Farmers
For farmers that are in need of help there are resources available. These resources are mostly organizations with professionals that assist farmers when the need arises. Often some of the organizations also can be helpful to help strengthen the financial position of the farm family through the situation.
One of the most important factors to getting through tough situations is communication. Communication is vital for families to discuss the current situation and to make decisions together that impact the family. If communication is not happening at the family level it may very well be necessary to seek out professional help or to reach out to trusted individuals.
University of Minnesota Extension has a web-based educational series available for farm families dealing with change and stress found here.
“The Crisis Connection is a nonprofit agency that provides 24-hour crisis counseling by telephone. Anyone can call from throughout Minnesota to receive support at any time.” The Minnesota Crisis Line can be reached at 612-379-6363, toll free at 866-379-6363, or visit their website.
University of Minnesota Extension runs the Farmer-Lender Mediation Program. “Mediation is the use of a trained neutral facilitator to assist in the negotiations of parties in a dispute. Mediation is an informal and confidential process that generally requires less cost and time than adversarial court litigation”. For further information on the Farmer-Lender Mediation Program contact 218-935-5785 or visit their website.
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) runs the Minnesota Farm Advocates Program. “Farm Advocates provide one-on-one assistance for Minnesota farmers who face crisis caused by either a natural disaster or financial problems. They are trained and experienced in agricultural lending practices, mediation, lender negotiation, farm programs, crisis counseling, disaster programs, and to recognize the need for legal and/or social services.” For further information on finding Minnesota Farm Advocates contact the MDA Hotline at 800-967-2474, or visit their website and search under Minnesota Farm Advocates.
The MDA also runs the Minnesota Farmer Assistance Network (MFAN). “MFAN provides business and financial guidance at no cost to Minnesota farmers and farm families facing economic hardship. This network of volunteer financial analysts work in collaboration with farm business management instructors, extension educators and others with the expertise to help in several areas including financial statement preparation, debt restructuring, business reorganization, and farm transition. MFAN will also provide referrals for legal advice and mental health counseling.” For further information on the MFAN Program contact 877-898-6326 or visit their website and search under MFAN.
“Farm Business Management Programs are designed to provide education to farm owners and operators or persons interested in farming. The purpose of the program is to assist students in meeting their business and personal goals. This is best accomplished through the use of quality records and sound business decisions. Effective financial management in the business is the best way for the business to maintain that competitive edge. Farm Business Management Education Programs in Minnesota are available through the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU).” For further information on Farm Business Management Programs contact 651-201-1672 or visit their website for instructors.
“The Minnesota Dairy Initiatives Program (MDI) is a producer-led initiative to coordinate a comprehensive approach to the delivery of on-farm services to Minnesota's dairy producers. The MDI Regional Teams locally manage and coordinate the delivery of on-farm advisory services using the skills and experience of team members with expertise in a variety of areas to help dairy farmers.” For further information on MDI contact 877-577-0741 or visit their website.
Resources and Sources for Further Information
University of Minnesota Extension has a toll-free line available called the Farm Information Line. “When you call the Farm Information Line, you'll get reliable, research-based answers from Extension agriculture experts. It is a statewide service backed by a network of local educators, so you'll get information to meet your specific needs.” To contact the Farm Information Line call 800-232-9077 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
University of Minnesota Extension also has trained professionals throughout Minnesota that can be helpful with current research, questions, and programs related to agriculture, community, the environment, family, garden, and youth. For further information on the University of Minnesota Extension, visit their website. Offices and staff can be found under the about tab. Those located in McLeod and Meeker Counties can contact Nathan Winter with any of their agriculture or horticulture related questions. The McLeod County Extension Office phone numbers are 320-484-4334 or 800-587-0770. Meeker County Extension Office phone numbers are 320-693-5275 or 877-993-5275.
University of Minnesota Extension is an equal opportunity educator and employer.