WASHINGTON, DC – Today, following House passage of the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 (H.R. 2), commonly called the Farm Bill, Congressman Tom Emmer (MN-06) released the following statement:
“Today's passage of the 2018 Farm Bill is a considerable step to provide relief and certainty for our farmers and ranchers in Minnesota and across the nation. I am proud to see the House pass this critical package, which contains major improvements for farmers and ranchers in Minnesota’s Sixth Congressional District such as better dairy risk management tools for smaller operations, a strong crop insurance program, improved farm safety net programs like Agricultural Risk Coverage, and efforts to better respond to emerging diseases that devastate livestock producers throughout Minnesota,” said Congressman Emmer, whose district encompasses areas of rural Minnesota including parts of Stearns, Benton, Wright and Sherburne Counties.
The Farm Bill also included Emmer's Stemming the Tide of Rural Economic Stress and Suicide (STRESS) Act, which will make mental health treatment more available for farmers, ranchers and agricultural workers who, due to the nature of their work and the lack of mental health treatment available, suffer from higher rates of depression and suicide.
“As the Farm Bill heads to conference with the Senate, I am grateful to see the STRESS Act included and am encouraged to know my colleagues on both sides of the aisle are supportive of this effort to deliver more mental health treatment to our farmers who are suffering a rate of suicide five times higher than the normal population,” added Emmer.
Specifically, the STRESS Act will reauthorize the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network (FRSAN) to give states needed resources to provide mental health services for farmers and ranchers. Though the program was first authorized in 2008, it did not receive funding and therefore lapsed. Emmer's legislation will renew FRSAN, restoring our nation's attention to Americans in farming who are disproportionately affected by high rates of suicide.