Nebraska Farm Hotline
The Nebraska Farm Hotline can be a first stop for information on the resources and services available to farm and ranch families and rural residents throughout the state of Nebraska. The Farm and Ranch Project is housed in the Legal Aid of Nebraska’s Bancroft office. Partners include: Interchurch Ministries of Nebraska, Nebraska Department of Agriculture, Nebraska Farmers Union Foundation, North Central Risk Management Education, Health & Human Services Behavioral Health Division, and the Beginning Farmer Network.
Michelle Soll has strong ties and commitment to the farmers/ranchers, their families, and the rural communities. She grew up on a farm, is currently
farming with her husband and has worked with many farm programs. Michelle understands the farm system. She takes personal interest in family and generational farming, and has been working with farmers for 31 years - 28 of those years with Legal Aid of Nebraska. Legal Aid of Nebraska has been the home of the Rural Response Hotline from the start up in 1984. The hotline is a statewide organization and has served as a model in starting other hotlines in other states.
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[00:00:04.030]I'm here to talk to you about the Rural Response Hotline
[00:00:08.350]that is offered through Legal Aid of Nebraska.
[00:00:10.820]And we have a huge farm and ranch project
[00:00:13.750]and I wanna let everybody know, to make them aware,
[00:00:16.520]of the services we have.
[00:00:21.210]Take note of the 800 number right now
[00:00:23.550]if anybody thinks they might need some our services later.
[00:00:26.780]Okay, so here's some services.
[00:00:30.130]We offer the stress counseling program called COMHT.
[00:00:33.400]So if anybody is facing any sort of financial distress
[00:00:37.400]or needs to see a counselor, we help pay for some sessions.
[00:00:43.520]We help to pay for up to five sessions per person.
[00:00:46.610]This might not only be if you have financial distress.
[00:00:48.810]If you have family dynamic issues
[00:00:50.960]or if you have a child that needs counseling
[00:00:53.510]or anything along those lines.
[00:00:56.170]We've had kids go to counseling that need to work on
[00:00:59.570]some behavioral issues and stuff like that.
[00:01:02.410]We have school providers referring people to our programs.
[00:01:06.220]But we help pay for those sessions.
[00:01:08.960]And then we have the legal assistance.
[00:01:12.560]Have any of you guys met Joe Hobaker yesterday,
[00:01:15.520]the farm law attorney?
[00:01:17.310]He is the attorney who works through the hotline
[00:01:21.100]and his services are free of charge
[00:01:23.350]through our Farm and Ranch Project.
[00:01:26.360]And he's wonderful.
[00:01:27.500]He's very knowledged.
[00:01:28.550]He's really good.
[00:01:29.890]And we also have a beginning farmer attorney,
[00:01:32.290]Amy Sabota, and she works with beginning farmers.
[00:01:35.960]So if you have a fence law dispute
[00:01:37.891]or a contract dispute or want a second opinion on something
[00:01:43.200]you might have going on, we have a farm law attorney
[00:01:47.090]that is free of charge.
[00:01:48.310]We have a number of services through the hotline also.
[00:01:52.220]We have the farm mediation program
[00:01:54.630]through the Department of Ag and that's if you have
[00:01:57.170]any sort of conflict and you'd like to sit down
[00:02:00.140]with the opposing party of the person you have
[00:02:02.330]the conflict with, especially a lender in this situation,
[00:02:06.300]then we could arrange that through
[00:02:08.920]the Farm Mediation Program of the Nebraska Department of Ag.
[00:02:13.080]I talked a little bit about our beginning farmer program
[00:02:16.240]where we can go and work with beginning farmers
[00:02:19.210]to help them set goals, put together a plan,
[00:02:22.700]whatever their need could be.
[00:02:26.470]Farm finance clinics.
[00:02:28.180]Farm finance clinics are statewide.
[00:02:31.840]They're not a group discussion.
[00:02:33.820]So basically if you wanna go and talk to the attorney
[00:02:36.800]or a financial advisor and get a second opinion on these,
[00:02:40.410]we have these farm finance clinics going on.
[00:02:43.470]They do a lot of estate and transition planning at them.
[00:02:47.220]You might have a fence dispute.
[00:02:48.720]They can talk to the farm law attorney.
[00:02:51.060]They might have questions on water rights.
[00:02:53.510]They might have a contract dispute.
[00:02:55.550]An issue with the government program.
[00:02:58.390]Maybe an appeal process.
[00:03:00.350]Whatever that need may be.
[00:03:03.920]The main thing is we do a lot of estate
[00:03:06.560]and transition planning at those too.
[00:03:10.770]We can send somebody to your home
[00:03:13.790]to work through your cashflow, your financial statement,
[00:03:16.870]a second opinion.
[00:03:19.000]Whatever you think that could be.
[00:03:23.068]It's up to you.
[00:03:24.810]It's whatever your need be.
[00:03:26.450]You don't have to be in financial distress.
[00:03:29.110]You don't have to be low income.
[00:03:31.120]It just has to be a farmer ranch topic.
[00:03:34.940]And we talked a little bit about the financial planning.
[00:03:37.141]That's real similar to the ag mentoring program
[00:03:40.980]where we have seven financial planners
[00:03:43.300]throughout the state.
[00:03:44.650]They can help you do number crunching.
[00:03:47.420]Dave Galor is one of them.
[00:03:49.040]Pat Cusler in the western part of the state.
[00:03:51.750]We are statewide.
[00:03:56.700]Here's our partners to make this all happen.
[00:04:00.720]We have a lot of partners.
[00:04:02.540]Legal aid writes a lot of grants
[00:04:04.290]to offer these free services to farmers and ranchers.
[00:04:07.610]On the bottom of every slide you'll see our 800 number.
[00:04:11.150]So if you need to get in tune or in touch
[00:04:14.010]with any of these services, there it is.
[00:04:15.960]Interchurch Ministries, they are the partners
[00:04:20.630]that started this in the 80s
[00:04:22.900]of the farm crisis consult.
[00:04:24.950]And Department of Ag, they're the ones that fund
[00:04:27.850]the farm finance clinics and the farm mediation program.
[00:04:34.640]The Next Gen Program is also a beginning farmer program.
[00:04:38.710]That's a program where you could get a tax credit
[00:04:41.500]if nobody don't know about that services,
[00:04:44.940]that's a tax credit from a land owner renting
[00:04:47.530]to a beginning farmer.
[00:04:49.190]And that's a wonderful program to have at your hands.
[00:04:53.660]NIFA, that's where legal aid writes this grant
[00:04:56.190]every three years to offer the Beginning Farmer Project
[00:04:59.970]and we have just recently written that grant
[00:05:03.110]to continue another three years.
[00:05:05.590]Farm Service Agency.
[00:05:07.030]They have helped us to do some outreach for their programs
[00:05:09.610]that they have available.
[00:05:11.060]There are loan programs.
[00:05:12.630]There are support programs.
[00:05:14.490]Whatever educational information you would need
[00:05:17.600]on the farm service agency.
[00:05:19.880]UNL, they help us do workshops
[00:05:22.670]throughout the state of Nebraska.
[00:05:24.740]I don't know if you guys have ever attended
[00:05:26.320]an estate and transition planning workshop.
[00:05:29.026]Here recently, we have found the topic that is needed
[00:05:32.970]is ag liens, leases and loans.
[00:05:36.320]So we started some workshops in that area.
[00:05:40.300]The health and human services help funds
[00:05:42.190]that counseling program, COMHT.
[00:05:44.420]And that stands for Counseling, Outreach,
[00:05:46.580]Mental Health Therapy.
[00:05:47.920]And they're the ones that allow us to give five sessions
[00:05:50.680]for people to go out and see a licensed provider.
[00:05:53.210]And we have 120 providers in our system
[00:05:56.140]so we are statewide.
[00:05:57.680]So if you live in Scottsbluff or if you live in Norfolk
[00:06:01.520]or Omaha, outside of Omaha,
[00:06:05.370]we have providers enrolled.
[00:06:09.280]I told you a little bit about the history of the hotline.
[00:06:11.660]It started in the 80s.
[00:06:14.120]We're celebrating 34 years
[00:06:16.530]and we started through Interchurch Ministries.
[00:06:19.130]They formed a Rural Response Council
[00:06:21.910]and that's how this hotline has started.
[00:06:24.170]Most states lost their hotline after the 80s.
[00:06:27.090]Nebraska is one of the few states
[00:06:28.830]that has kept their hotline running.
[00:06:31.010]We have served as models to try to start up hotlines now
[00:06:34.950]in other states.
[00:06:38.800]This is our most common uses right now
[00:06:41.170]for the Farm and Ranch Project.
[00:06:43.364]Our farm law attorney, he's just really good
[00:06:46.700]and he specializes in farm law.
[00:06:49.540]He only does farm law.
[00:06:51.360]So a lot of people call to talk to him.
[00:06:53.660]A Listening Ear.
[00:06:54.690]We're starting to see an uptake in financial distress.
[00:06:57.840]Some cash flows or financial statements
[00:06:59.860]that aren't working quite as well as they have in the past.
[00:07:03.660]We do a lot of Estate and Succession Planning,
[00:07:06.950]transitioning from one generation to the next.
[00:07:10.490]We work with both ends, the beginner
[00:07:12.002]and the retiring land owner.
[00:07:15.560]The workshops and clinics, that I have talked about.
[00:07:19.920]The counseling program I've talked about
[00:07:21.700]and the Financial Planning and Ag Mentor.
[00:07:29.070]A lot of the farm and ranch situations
[00:07:31.341]are out of the farmers control.
[00:07:34.660]I myself am a farmer's wife.
[00:07:37.100]I've been a farmer's daughter.
[00:07:38.290]I've been doing this for quite awhile and you know,
[00:07:41.780]a lot of things effect what happens
[00:07:45.695]outside of you of what happens to your operation.
[00:07:48.660]Bad prices, contracts,
[00:07:52.030]weather, crop insurance disputes,
[00:07:56.140]government programs, the state and transition planning.
[00:07:58.880]If you don't have a successful transition plan
[00:08:01.590]from one generation to the next
[00:08:03.256]that can really effect the success of your operation.
[00:08:09.600]This is a lot of what we do education components on.
[00:08:12.210]We do workshops on a lot of these topics.
[00:08:15.250]We have a lot of handouts available on these topics.
[00:08:18.840]We do have a website with most of our handouts on it.
[00:08:22.290]It's farmers and ranchers dot org
[00:08:24.910]and it has a wonderful resources of handouts on it,
[00:08:29.810]mostly on these topics.
[00:08:31.270]If you have questions on them,
[00:08:32.840]you can call that 800 number.
[00:08:38.570]That same website also has our upcoming workshops
[00:08:41.780]and our clinics where they'll be.
[00:08:44.010]We have the clinics in Alliance, North Platte,
[00:08:47.350]Grand Island, Valentine, Norfolk, Fairbury.
[00:08:52.530]I think that's it.
[00:08:56.490]And there's Outreach.
[00:08:57.380]We try to do some outreach within
[00:08:59.290]our Farm and Ranch Project and that's pretty much
[00:09:01.500]where we go.
[00:09:03.260]That's my son up in the corner.
[00:09:06.440]And then some stacks.
[00:09:07.460]So just to let you know we are there for you.
[00:09:09.810]We are there for whatever your need may be.
[00:09:12.140]We are used and we want people to continue using us
[00:09:15.070]and we want you guys to feel comfortable in using us.
[00:09:18.310]We're very confidential.
[00:09:20.130]We keep everything on a one-on-one basis.
[00:09:22.880]And it's just I and another coworker
[00:09:24.810]and we just keep everything to ourselves.
[00:09:28.850]That's the number of calls we had in 2017, 3,518.
[00:09:35.360]1,275 producers attended our workshops and clinics.
[00:09:39.800]Look at how many counseling programs,
[00:09:42.250]how many people we have enrolled in the counseling program
[00:09:45.436]so far now, 7,263.
[00:09:49.770]I can't tell you how good that program is.
[00:09:51.660]It's just a way of getting help if you need help.
[00:09:56.860]And it's very, very confidential.
[00:10:00.800]Our whole program consists of our partners
[00:10:03.120]and it consists of us all pitching in, working together
[00:10:07.150]and making it happen.
[00:10:08.430]And we all believe in that,
[00:10:10.020]between the Department of Ag, FSA,
[00:10:13.172]myself, Legal Aid of Nebraska,
[00:10:15.630]Interchurch Ministries and the numerous grants
[00:10:18.160]that we write.
[00:10:19.130]We all are here to offer you guys free services.
[00:10:22.880]We're here for you and it takes all of us to pitch in
[00:10:25.780]and for that to happen.
[00:10:27.740]So that's a lot of what we do.
[00:10:30.730]And just to let you know we're here for you.
[00:10:33.060]And if you guys have any questions, I can answer them.
[00:10:43.660]Okay, the 800 number is 1-800-
[00:10:52.460]and the website is farmer and rancher dot org.
[00:11:01.950]Anybody have any questions?
[00:11:05.480]If not, you can sure give us a call.
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