Risk of farmer suicide is now seen as a national crisis

Posted at 4:50 PM, Jun 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-27 18:36:14-04

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, farm income since 2013 has been dropping with the average farm's income expected to be 35% lower than what it was five years ago.

The situation is creating tremendous financial stress on farmers and it is raising the risk of suicide.

Groups like the National Farmers Union have called on the USDA to take steps to deal with the suicide crisis by providing more resources to help farmers with mental stress.

That stress is being especially felt by WNY dairy farmers who are forced to sell milk for less than it cost to produce.

Dustin Bliss is a younger dairy farmer in Cattaraugus County with 500 milking cows.  Bliss said on average it costs about $17 to produce 100lbs of milk that ends up selling for $15 - leaving dairy farmers with a loss every single day.

The fear of a farmer suicide crisis has seen the Wyoming County Mental Health Department hand out special mugs to farmers that are filled with information about depression and suicide prevention.

Cornell University's "NY FarmNet" is also posting information and links on its website to help struggling farmers.  FarmNet will provide free, confidential counseling to farmers on personal and financial issues.  More information about FarmNet can be found here:

7 Eyewitness News Reporter Ed Reilly has more in his story.


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