MO Department of Ag opens stress helpline

The Missouri Department of Agriculture launched a new stress helpline for farmers and ranchers Monday.

MDA Communication Director Christi Miller tells Brownfield the 24/7 AgriStress Helpline is open through a partnership with the AgriSafe Network with health professionals knowledgeable on agriculture.

“I think that will make a difference when they answer the phone and understand what it means to say, ‘I have a hard time feeding my cattle,’ or my heifers didn’t breed,’ you know? They just understand the lingo, the understand the language and so I think it’ll make a real difference for producers who make that phone call.”

Miller said the line is free to call and confidential.

She said the helpline has been in the works for several months and is opening at a much-needed time for Missouri farmers and ranchers.

“High input costs early in the year, high fuel costs; goodness gracious it was difficult to drive a tractor during planting season or to run across the hay grounds to bale hay, and now we’ve seen drought in the lower two thirds of our state and at the same time we’re seeing flooding conditions in the eastern side of the state.”

Miller said MDA will be keeping track of call volumes, but…

“If we help one person, then it does not matter the cost at all of this service because that’s making a difference for that person and for that person’s family.”

The helpline is funded through a USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture grant, which Miller hopes remains funded long-term. The AgriStress Helpline can be reached at 833-897-2474.

Christi Miller Interview

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