PEI

After hard fall, farmer counselling service has busy winter

The P.E.I. Farm Assistance Program mental health counselling service has received as many calls in the last three months as it did over all of last year.

'Almost like a bit of a perfect storm'

During last fall's potato harvest farmers had to deal with muddy fields and hundreds of hectares of crop were left in the ground. (Submitted by Lori Robinson)

The P.E.I. Farm Assistance Program mental health counselling service has received as many calls in the last three months as it did over all of last year.

About 90 farmers have called for appointments since January, said P.E.I. Federation of Agriculture executive director Robert Godfrey.

While it's good farmers are reaching out for help, Godfrey said, it shows the struggles the industry is facing, starting with a difficult harvest in muddy fields.

"A lot of it has to do with the fact that we had a really hard fall," he said.

"There has been some marketplace concerns, there has been some trade deals signed, and almost like a bit of a perfect storm, in a way, for some people and it's really unfortunate."

Last year the program had about $20,000 in funding, cost-shared by the province and the federation, Godfrey said.

He expects next year it will require between $25,000 and $30,000, funding that should be worked out by the end of this month.

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