Hotline designed to help ease the burden on farmers

Local News

VALLEY SPRINGS, S.D. (KELO) — Farming is a stressful occupation and the drought is doing nothing to ease that pressure.

Local farmers are feeling the heat to produce a bountiful crop, but the lack of moisture is a problem.

“Well, there’s a lot of praying going on this time of year. We’re praying for rain and hoping that we get the water that we need and moisture that will finish up our crop and help it get through to harvest,” Valley Springs farmer Jordan Scott said.

Jordan Scott farms near Valley Springs. He’s a fifth generation farmer, but has only been farming full time for six years.

“Yeah, there’s a lot of stress and it comes from a bunch of different angles when you’re a farmer, the weather being a big one, especially this time of year,” Scott said.

Farmers can’t control the weather, but can alleviate anxiety by calling the Farm & Rural Stress Hotline.

“You know the idea of getting help, opening up, doing things for yourself, that should be a mark or resiliency, strength and that’s what we’re trying to still instill in folks,” Avera Physician Assistant Karl Oehlke said.

Karl Oehlke is a Physician Assistant with Avera University Psychiatry and third generation farmer. He created the Farm & Rural Stress Hotline in 2018, and says family and friends of farmers should watch for signs that something isn’t right.

“Whether it’s going to a ballgame, going to church, you might see that person not attending those things. Maybe the farm that used to be immaculate is maybe now not getting taken care of, folks aren’t sleeping, they might not be eating as well,” Oehlke said.

Understanding that help is just a phone call away.

“You know the biggest thing is making that call or starting that conversation,” Oehlke said.

“It’s good to know there’s resources out there that are available to help if come into a situation where you need some help,” Scott said.

The Farm & Rural Stress Hotline is free, confidential, and available 24 hours a day at 1-800-691-4336.

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