Mental health, drought impacts at center of Fillmore County Agriculture Summit – ABC 6 News

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(ABC 6 News) – ‘You’re not alone.’ That was the main message during the Fillmore County Agriculture Summit in Lanesboro on Thursday.

One farmer who was there to take it all in was Andrew Serio. Serio isn’t just any farmer, he’s a hydroponic farmer at Serio Farms. He grows plants in a temperature-controlled greenhouse with water rather than soil. That doesn’t mean the weather hasn’t impacted his farming.

“We have not had the rain. My ground is more clay. I just got this extremely hard, packed ground that just cannot get enough water. Even though I have to supplement watering, it still can just not get enough water,” said Serio.

Serio also spoke at the summit. He believes hydroponic farming might help others who are struggling right now.

“Times change and that stuff. The more people we get, I can produce more in a smaller area. So maybe, that’s a lot of the things that we are going to have to slowly start to do in our mindset of how we produce things.”

Inflation and weather are two of the concerns University of Minnesota experts say play a factor. In fact, the weather even threw off the organizers of this event.

“Normally, we have snow on the ground and this year we don’t. We try to make sure to plan this event at a good time for farmers when they’re typically not in the field yet. Because once they’re in the field, their growing season has started,” said Chris Hahn, the Community and Business Development Specialist with CEDA. The Community and Economic Development Associates (CEDA) is a non-profit in southeast Minnesota helping organizations be proactive and strategic about their development aspirations.

Whether it’s health care or planning tips, it’s clear Thursday brought everyone together.

“It’s important our agriculture families understand and know that there are resources available. This event not only offers those resources but offers them a chance to engage with other organizations that could help them,” added Hahn.

If you or another farm is struggling, you can find resources, here, Including the number for the Minnesota Farm and Rural Helpline.

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