The Farm Line Support Service was established in 2000. At that time Ontario farmers were facing many challenges, including the “pork crisis” and the continuing recovery from the Ice Storm of 1998. Also, with the closure of many rural offices of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), farmers had lost the one-to-one support once provided by their local field staff and offices.
The Farm Line Support Service phone help-line was the result of the 1999 Farm Family Psycho-Social Economic Health Research Project, completed by the Ontario Farm Women’s Network, with the help of other rural and farm organizations, including the OFA, CFFO, Farm Safety Association, University of Guelph and Kemptville College. One of the key findings of this study was the need for a communication tool in times of stress, specific to the agricultural community. Such stressors may include a fatal farm accident, barn fire, commodity market collapse, inter-generational issues or a natural disaster.
The Farm Line Support Service in Ontario was modeled after the Saskatchewan Farm Stress Line, created by the Saskatchewan Government in 1992. Manitoba’s Stress-Line was founded in 2000. The Manitoba service is administered by the Klinic Community Health Centre; and is funded by Manitoba Health, in cooperation with the Manitoba Agriculture, Food & Rural Initiatives.