WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) – member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies – today applauded the President’s signing of the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 (Farm Bill) that included legislation Sen. Moran championed, the Facilitating Accessible Resources for Mental Health and Encouraging Rural Solutions For Immediate Response to Stressful Times (FARMERS FIRST) Act, to provide our nation’s agricultural community with critical mental health support and resources.
“Farmers and ranchers are facing a net farm income that has been cut in half over the last five years, continued low commodity prices, uncertain market access and unfavorable weather,” said Sen. Moran. “The inclusion of this legislation in the Farm Bill will provide the ag community with necessary mental health programs, such as a crisis help line and suicide prevention training for farm advocates during these tumultuous times for our producers. I will continue working with my colleagues to make certain this legislation is implemented in a way that will best serve our farmers and ranchers who need help during trying times.”
To assist this community in crisis, provisions included in the Farm Bill will provide seed funding through the U.S. Department of Agriculture to state departments of agriculture, state extension services, Indian tribes and non-profits to establish helplines, provide suicide prevention training for farm advocates, create support groups and reestablish the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network. In addition to these resources, the language will establish a Farm and Ranch Stress Assessment Committee to better understand how agricultural workers’ mental health impacts rural development and provide recommendations for addressing mental health care needs within the agriculture community.
Additional co-sponsors of the original legislation include U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), Joni Ernst (R-Neb.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.).
The FARMERS FIRST Act was introduced in April and is supported by a wide array of commodity groups, advocacy organizations and agricultural associations. Click here to read the full list of support.