Farm Aid Resource Guide for Farm Crisis Support

Friends of Family Farmer’s 3rd biennial ‘Family Farms Mean Business’ rally.

Photo: Friends of Family Farmers

Farm life isn’t easy. Nature’s whims, costly repairs, injuries and other unpleasant surprises can upend even the most careful business plan, leaving your farm in physical and financial disarray and placing substantial pressure on your mental and emotional wellbeing. The resources below are there for you during the toughest times.

Updated Summer 2021. 

Mental Health and Family Services

Hard times can bring an inordinate amount of stress to you and your family. Farm Aid works with organizations around the country staffed with farm advocates, counselors and hotline operators that can help you in your time of greatest need. If you need someone to talk to, give us a call at 1-800-FARM-AID and we’ll do our best to direct you to someone who can help.

If you are in crisis or experiencing unmanageable amounts of stress:

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, across the United States. The Lifeline is comprised of a national network of over 170 local crisis centers, combining custom local care and resources with national standards and best practices. You do not have to be suicidal to call. 

If you prefer to text, you can text HOME to 741741 from anywhere in the United States, anytime. Crisis Text Line is there for any crisis. A live, trained Crisis Counselor receives the text and responds, all from a secure online platform. The volunteer Crisis Counselor will help you move from a hot moment to a cool moment.

If you are not in crisis but looking to connect with local support:

SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357), (also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service) or TTY: 1-800-487-4889 is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations. Callers can also order free publications and other information.

When Disasters Strike

The Farmers’ Legal Action Group (FLAG) offers a number of guides and updates about federal risk management and disaster programs that can help protect your farm business against natural disasters. A good place to start is their Navigating Disaster Assistance for Farmers, written by FLAG attorneys, Farm Aid, and RAFI-USA to give an overview of FEMA assistance, federal crop insurance, USDA’s Non-Insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program and Emergency Loans from USDA’s Farm Service Agency. Their website has more detailed guides on a variety of USDA programs as well.

USDA offers a variety of programs and services to help communities, farmers, ranchers, and businesses that have been hard hit by natural disaster events.

Farmers who grow specialty crops often face a unique set of hurdles in securing crop insurance and risk management tools. Check out these USDA specialty crop resources, particularly these for the Whole Farm Revenue Protection program.

Legal Needs

The Farmers’ Legal Action Group is dedicated to helping farmers understand their rights and has a long list of legal resources for farmers and ranchers facing anything from financial or natural disasters to land succession to tough situations with contracts. You can also call FLAG at 877-860-4349 if you have any questions, they will not be able to represent you but can help talk through your legal questions.

The Drake Agricultural Law Center offers publications and guides covering a range of legal issues affecting farmers. Most of the resources are academic, but they can offer important insights to you or your lawyer regarding legal needs for your farm.

Resources for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers

 The AgrAbility Project helps disabled farmers modify their farms and production methods according to their needs. This national program provides mentoring, resources and some disability related financial assistance.

The Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund works to retain black-owned land in the South and uses cooperatives and advocacy for economic development in low-income communities throughout the region.

The Farmer Veteran Coalition works nationally to help returning veterans begin viable careers in agriculture and find a means to heal on America’s farms.

The Intertribal Agriculture Council works with Native American and Alaskan Tribes to provide technical assistance as well as to pursue and promote the conservation, development and use of our agricultural resources for the betterment of our people.

The Women, Food and Agriculture Network (WFAN) is a place where women can share the information and encouragement needed to practice sustainable agriculture and healthy local food systems. WFAN’s Women Caring for the Land program is a peer-to-peer conservation education program for women farmland owners.

The National Immigrant Farming Initiative offers resources for immigrant farmers of all backgrounds.

Industrial Ag, Development Pressures and Corporate Abuse

When a big energy firm or factory farm moves into town, it’s easy to feel powerless or unsure about your options. The following resources are there to support you as you confront new developments that threaten your farm and community.

The Western Organization of Resource Councils (WORC) works on behalf of landowners, farmers and ranchers in Colorado, the Dakotas, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Wyoming. WORC offers a series of How To Guides for farmers and rural residents interested in organizing against factory farms, energy development and corporate abuse in their communities.

The Socially Responsible Agriculture Project (SRAP) offers a hotline and support materials for those organizing against factory farms.

Consolidated ownership and lack of competition make it difficult for most farmers to get fair prices for their goods and leave farmers vulnerable to corporate abuse. Make sure you understand your rights by reading FLAG’s guides by visiting their site and searching for contracts.

Several groups across the country organize farmers and ranchers to give them a voice when big firms move in. Check out Family Farm Defenders in Wisconsin and surrounding states, Friends of Family Farmers in Oregon, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement in Iowa, The Ohio Ecological Food & Farm Association in Ohio, and Food & Water Watch nationally as good examples.

Farm Advocate Link

The Farm Advocate Link is a network of professional farm advocates who address the need for fair access to credit, risk management and disaster assistance programs for farmers. For additional information or to get involved with the Farm Advocate Link, contact Farm Aid at

Not finding what you need? Request one-on-one assistance from our Farmer Services team, by filling out our Online Request for Assistance form or by calling 1-800-FARM-AID (1-800-327-6243). Farm Aid staff are happy to listen and help you however we can.

Also check out our Online Directory of farm service organizations and Farmer Hero stories for additional inspiration and ideas.

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