Today, the co-chairs of the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee decided not to act on a plan for the $100,000 in funding for farmer mental health assistance that was provided in Governor Evers’ 2019-2021 biennial budget. Secretary-designee Brad Pfaff of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) issued the following statement in response:
“There’s no two ways about it: Republicans have chosen to leave farmers behind. To help with the stress our farmers and their families are experiencing, Governor Evers proposed significant investments in mental health resources for Wisconsin’s agriculture communities across the state. The Joint Finance Committee agreed, and included that funding in the final budget the Governor signed. Now, they’re going back on their word and abandoning our state’s farmers in the process.
“It has been 145 days since Governor Evers introduced his proposed budget to provide this funding. As of today, DATCP has funding to provide just five more counseling vouchers to farmers in need of mental health care. Our agriculture community needs this funding, and they need it now – not when it’s convenient for legislative Republicans. We look forward to working with the Speaker’s Task Force on this initiative, but farmers need help now. If the Joint Finance Committee doesn’t want to move this funding forward immediately, then they have a choice to make: which five farmers will it be?”