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Virginia farmers can now call AgriStress during times of need 

A person works in soil
To help farmers cope with the mental and emotional weight of the job, Virginia’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services announced the launch of the AgriStress helpline this summer. (File photo: Courtesy of Storyblocks)

To help farmers cope with the mental and emotional weight of the job, Virginia’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services announced the launch of the AgriStress helpline this summer. 

The Virginia Farm Bureau is spreading the word about the helpline in an effort to support farmers. 

“We say, if it’s a physical injury, 911 is the number to call. If it's another issue or another concern, the AgriStress helpline can help,” said Dana Fisher, VFB Safety Program Coordinator. “If it's anxiety over concerns on the farm, if it's stress, if it's financial issues that you just need somebody to talk to, the AgriStress helpline is a resource for our farmers.”. 

Virginia is one of only five states with access to the AgriStress helpline. What’s unique about it is that crisis specialists have access to a Virginia specific database of agriculture and health resources. 

Fisher said farmers are still feeling the effects of the pandemic, on top of other stresses like inflation, isolation and the decline in the number of farms and farmers.  

“On farms it's not just where they work, it's where they live, and not just for that farmer, but maybe the generation older than him or her and generation younger. And so that stress adds up as well,” Fisher said. “It's not just your business, but your home that you're trying to manage and trying to maintain and try and hold on to. And in times when finances are tight, or when the weather or some other concern causes an issue with what you can do, you’ve got that family concern as well.” 

If you are a farmer going through a stressful time, the AgriStress helpline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Farmers can speak directly to a crisis specialist at 833-897-2472 or send a text. Interpretation services are available for 160 languages.