COVID Recovery Iowa Available to Agriculture Community
AMES, Iowa – Farming can be stressful in the best of times. Financial worries, erratic weather, unpredictable commodity prices, plant pests, livestock diseases and isolation all contribute to farmers’ anxiety. Now Iowa’s rural communities and families are coping with the economic impact and unpredictability produced by the COVID-19 pandemic. Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds has described the effect of COVID-19 on Iowa’s farm economy as “devastating.”
During her May 28 daily press briefing, Governor Reynolds and Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig communicated that Iowa’s meatpacking plants are operating at only 80 percent capacity. In addition, the U.S. pork industry has lost about 25% of its processing capacity due to COVID-19, and livestock producers are being forced by the consequences of COVID-19 to euthanize animals.
Iowa State University economists are saying Iowa’s pork industry has lost more than $2 billion; the beef industry, $700 million; corn, nearly $800 million; and soybeans, more than $200 million. The impact is devastating.
Help is now available. The State of Iowa recently announced the launch of COVID Recovery Iowa, a nearly $1-million-dollar grant funded program from FEMA. This program, available now, provides resources and stress counseling via virtual sessions, chat or phone call. People of all ages may join groups online to find support and learn new strategies to cope with the effects of the pandemic in a variety of creative ways.
Anxiety, loneliness, anger and sense of loss are only a few of the very normal emotions Iowans may be feeling right now. This crisis, however, does not affect everyone in the same way. Individuals may feel fine and confident one day and overwhelmed the next. Family members may feel things differently – and at different times as well. That is why COVID Recovery Iowa is available to help. Having accessible an avenue to learn more about what is happening and talk to someone about the personal impact is very important.
Every Iowan is eligible for FREE confidential resource and referral, education, and counseling. Persons can simply contact the Iowa Concern Hotline at 800-447-1985, go to https://covidrecoveryiowa.org/ . Program staff at these sites can also provide referrals to and information about programs that will help Iowans manage stress, family financial and farm financial concerns throughout the pandemic. These programs include Iowa State University Extension and Outreach farm management resources and resources for parents and much more. Educational seminars and solutions for farmer and businesses managing staff remotely who are in need support is available as well. Contact COVID Recovery Iowa to learn more and let us tailor a response to your specific personal or business need.
COVID RECOVERY IOWA resources at a glance:
Phone: Iowa Concern Hotline at 800-447-1985 or Iowa Warm Line at 844-775-9276
Contact for this release: Jason Haglund, Speciality Coordinator Agriculture and Rural Mental Health and Substance Use, COVID Recovery Iowa Phone: 515-450-3004