(WFRV) — Senator Tammy Baldwin has announced increased federal funding to provide the nation’s farmers with support and mental health resources.
The FARMERS FIRST ACT, introduced by Sen. Baldwin and Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA), was included in the 2018 Farm Bill that passed the Senate last year.
As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Sen. Baldwin says she worked to pass an amendment last week to a Senate appropriations bill that will provide $8 million – an increase of $6 million from the 2019 Fiscal Year – for the bipartisan legislation.
According to Sen. Baldwin’s office, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that farmers and other individuals who work in agriculture experience a high rate of suicide.
The FARMERS FIRST (Facilitating Accessible Resources for Mental health and Encouraging Rural Solutions for Immediate Response to Stressful Times) Act is intended to provide funding for local mental health resources to expand access to stress reduction strategies and suicide prevention programs for people working in agriculture.
Baldwin’s reform provides competitive grant funding through the U.S. Department of Agriculture to state departments of agriculture, state extension services, non-profits, and tribes to establish helplines and websites, provide suicide prevention training for farm advocates, create support groups and reestablish the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network (FRSAN).