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Wisconsin Farmers Can Now Call 24/7 and Find Help
By: State Assemblywoman Joan Ballweg - 09/11/2020

September is National Suicide Prevention Month. Suicide rates have been increasing at an alarming rate across the state, affecting every demographic. In a state with a proud agricultural background, it may be a surprise that our farmers are also dying of suicide. But there is hope.

The Wisconsin Farm Center recently extended the hours of their Farmer Wellness Hotline to 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Farmers seeking support, be it emotional or economic, can find free and confidential care on the other end of the line, at any hour of the day.

I'm happy to see the Farm Center, which is an office of Wisconsin's Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consume Protection, has extended its hotline hours. The Farm Center has been an asset to farmers for many years, offering financial planning, mediation and arbitration and diagnostic programs.

Their wellness program now provides three different options: a 24/7 farmer wellness hotline; farmer wellness tele-counseling; and a counseling voucher program.

Over the past several years, I've been advocating for greater support for suicide prevention in our state, including through the Farm Center. Extending their previous call center hours to 24 hours was something I asked about and I'm happy to see extended hours are finally a reality.

Many of us know that life on the farm doesn't recognize regular office hours. Just as farmers harvest well into the night and calves are sometimes born in the wee hours of the morning, life's stressors can overwhelm us at any hour of the day. Now you can call the 24/7 Wisconsin Farmer Wellness Hotline and find help.

If you or a loved one are experiencing suicidal ideation, please reach out. The 24/7 Farmer Wellness Hotline can be reached at (888) 901-2558 and the Farm Center can be reached at (800) 942-2474.

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