Mental Health Support on the Way as Farmers Play Catch-Up

June 25, 2019 06:58 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- Next week, new bills will take effect in Minnesota and one, specifically, will affect farmers.

The Department of Agriculture is getting an increase of nearly $4 million in general funding. Some of that money will be used for mental health and outreach programs.


Those resources are needed in our region, especially as farmers deal with a difficult start to the growing season.

Kasson farmer, Rod Jorgenson, estimates he is about three weeks behind schedule. However, he was still able to get roughly 1,100 acres of corn and 600 acres of soybeans planted.

“It's been a historic planting season in the Midwest as far as late planting and, frankly, acres that didn't get planted,” he said. “I think if you asked any farmer out here and they said this wasn't a stressful year, they'd be kidding themselves.”

Jorgenson says some find it hard to cope. “Maybe a month or so ago there was a farmer in the Lake City area that took his life, and I know some of the people that knew him and it caught everyone by surprise.”

Which is why he says resources and a good support network are so important.

For the most part, Jorgenson says the farmers he’s spoken with are doing alright. “They are a little behind, but really the eastern corn belt: Indiana, Ohio, parts of Illinois and South Dakota really weren't able to get a crop in.”

The misfortune of those farmers is driving up the price of corn.

“Corn is at a level where if we planted normally, it never would have been where it is now,” said Jorgenson. “Cash bids are maybe a dollar over where they were just four weeks ago or six weeks ago.”

Which is good for farmers who can get a crop in this year. However, when it comes to corn consumers: “That means margins are nil -- or negative -- it’s ugly,” said Randall Doyal, the CEO of Al-Corn Clean Fuel in Claremont.

However, Doyal says he can’t complain. “For my farmers who own the company, who built this company in the first place, they are finally going to see a better price for their corn and it’s about time.”

“It's not going to be a bin-busting year, I don't think, but we are optimistic that we will have a good crop this fall,” said Jorgenson.


Hannah Tiede

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