A mixed response to rural distress lines

The future of a peer-to-peer crisis support telephone line that serves Ontario’s farm community is in question. Debra Pretty-Straathof says that, despite crises within
several of the province’s agricultural sectors in recent years, calls to the toll-free Farm Line have dwindled to roughly 60 over the past six months.

“We’re not really sure why; we don’t know if it’s a resignation or – I don’t have any way of analyzing why that would be,” she says.

Spending money for a service not being used is a point of frustration. “We’re discussing with the agriculture ministry what the options would be and how to better serve the rural farm community,” says Pretty-Straathof. No decisions have been made, but closing down the service is not an option, she adds.

Better Farming - March 2010