Hotline sees uptick in calls due to continued drought
August 17th, 2012 by Ric Hanson
While we’ve seen a few breaks from the hot, dry weather, the worst drought in decades is stressing some of us out and calls to the Iowa Concern Hotline are rising. The service offers information referral, a friendly ear and legal advice, if necessary. Hotline director Margaret VanGinkle says questions lately are about how to handle household finances as prices rise due to the drought. “What happens if we have to pay more for milk and groceries and then the price of gas has gone up, too,” VanGinkle says. “Where am I going to find funds to pay for that when my budget is already pretty tight now?”
Forecasters don’t expect a break from the current weather pattern until October, but some fear the drought could continue well beyond this fall and into next year. Van Ginkle says callers are worried about the potential for a prolonged drought. She says, “If there is a shortage of rural water and they’re being asked to cut back on water with their livestock, how does that effect the operation especially on those really hot days, just a concern that might happen.”
Once known as the Rural Concern Hotline, the service was launched by the Iowa State University extension in 1985 to offer advice to struggling farmers during the Farm Crisis. As the name now implies, VanGinkle says the Iowa Concern Hotline is not exclusive to the agriculture community. The number is 800-447-1985. Phone calls are free and confidential.