New seminar set to support farm youth

Updated: July 23, 2019 07:08 AM

Extreme weather and a volatile agricultural economy is not only taking a financial toll on Minnesota's farm families.

It is also having an emotional impact.


Now the state is stepping up to offer help to children in these families that are feeling all of this stress.

4-H leaders, school counselors, agriculture lenders and clergy met at Ridgewater College in Willmar Monday for a first-of-its-kind workshop.

"The kids aren’t being talked about and they are in a place knowing what’s going on, they can tell something is up, they can feel the stress," Monica McConkey said. 

McConkey is hoping to educate those who work with kids experiencing farm stress. He says listening is key.

"What helps is to say something like, 'Let’s make a plan, this happened, listen to them hear, what they’re going through and then really problem solve with them,'" she said.

More from KSTP: 

Extreme weather, other factors taking toll on Minnesota farmers

4-H coordinator Mary Ann Anderson says there is a lot dumped on farm youth today.

"I have seen, just in the last few years, the economics and all the stress related issues that can happen to youth," she said.

Keith Lundberg works with farmers looking for loans.

"In the banking industry we’re told we’re not supposed to take things personally, but how do you do that," he said. "We’re building a relationship and working together and getting financing for families and what not."

All agree they're seeing more mental health concerns, and seminars like the Minnesota Department of Agriculture's Supporting Farm Youth are valuable to talk about those issues, raise awarness of resources and help those in need.

"This has been very good," Anderson said. "And I can’t wait to see how I can use this with the kids."

"You can’t let it go by, they are youth, you got to try to step in and help somehow, someway," Lundberg said.

Farmers can reach out to the Department of Agriculture's "Minnesota Farm and Rural Helpline" at 1-833-600-2670.

Help can be found on the department's website as well.

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Jessica Miles

Copyright 2019 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company


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