U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin announced increased federal funding to provide our nation’s farmers with critical support and mental health resources.
Senator Baldwin’s FARMERS FIRST Act, introduced with Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), was included in the 2018 Farm Bill, which passed the Senate last year. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Baldwin worked to pass an amendment last week to a Senate appropriations bill that will provide $8 million, an increase of $6 million from Fiscal Year 2019, for the bipartisan legislation.
“I worked across party lines to include the FARMERS FIRST Act in the Farm Bill and now I’ve worked across the aisle to increase funding for it because we need to help our farmers when they are dealing with stressful times. Our Wisconsin farmers are facing many difficult challenges and we all need to work together to provide them the support they need, including more funding for local mental health resources,” said Senator Baldwin.
Reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have found that farmers and other individuals who work in agriculture experience a high rate of suicide. Senator Baldwin’s Facilitating Accessible Resources for Mental health and Encouraging Rural Solutions for Immediate Response to Stressful Times (FARMERS FIRST) Act provides funding for local mental health resources to expand access to stress reduction strategies and suicide prevention programs for people who work 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).