USA TODAY: March 9, 2020, Midwest Farmers Face a Crisis. Hundreds are Dying By Suicide.
More than 450 farmers killed themselves across nine Midwestern states from 2014 to 2018. Meanwhile, calls to Farm Aid’s crisis hotline soar.
One by one, the three men from the same close-knit community took their own lives. Their deaths spanned a two-year stretch starting in mid-2015 and shook the village of Georgetown, Ohio, about 40 miles southeast of Cincinnati.
American farmers produce nearly all of the country’s food and contribute some $133 billion annually to the gross domestic product.
But U.S. farmers are saddled with near-record debt, declaring bankruptcy at rising rates and selling off their farms amid an uncertain future clouded by climate change and whipsawed by tariffs and bailouts.
More than 450 farmers killed themselves across nine Midwestern states from 2014 to 2018, according to data collected by the USA TODAY Network and the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting. The real total is likely to be higher because not every state provided suicide data for every year and some redacted portions of the data.