WASHINGTON, DC - Agriculture industry groups are voicing their support for Congressman Tom Emmer's (MN-06) Stemming the Tide of Rural Economic Stress and Suicide (STRESS) Act (H.R. 5259) which would reauthorize the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network (FRSAN) to make mental health treatment more available for farmers, ranchers and agricultural workers.
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING:
National Rural Health Association: “For those in rural areas seeking mental health services, they face two giant obstacles: availability and accessibility. In 55% of all American counties, most of which are rural, there is not a single psychologist, psychiatrist or social worker. The Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network (FRSAN) could help support agricultural workers and their families in rural communities by providing easily obtainable resources for mental health services.”
Minnesota Farmers Union: “Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) thanks Rep. Emmer for introducing the Stress Act aimed at assisting farmers dealing with mental health issues that have been highlighted in recent months with a continued sluggish farm economy, especially for dairy farmers. MFU will continue to work with Rep. Emmer to see that this important and needed legislation is passed by Congress in a timely manner.”
Matthew Fitzgerald, farmer and co-leader of the Central Minnesota Young Farmers Coalition: “It's no secret that the farm economy is struggling. What's harder to talk about is the stress that it puts on farmers. The STRESS Act addresses the very real mental health challenges farmers face. Farms are the cornerstone of our communities, and this legislation demonstrates that the community understands, values, and supports its farmers. We are grateful for that and, as always, remain optimistic about the future.”
National Farmers Union: “Farming and ranching is a highly stressful occupation. As the downturn in the farm economy worsens, many producers are finding themselves in a state of financial crisis. Unfortunately, many family farmers and ranchers lack access to the support they need in times of extreme duress. FRSAN would fund partnerships to train farm advocates, establish helplines, and provide outreach and support services. NFU has long advocated for these resources, and we applaud the efforts of Representatives Emmer and O’Halleran to ensure family farmers get the support they need to stay healthy and afloat through these tough times. We urge Congress to strengthen FRSAN and provide it with robust funding in the next Farm Bill.”
Ian L. Maw, Ph.D., Vice President, Food, Agriculture & Natural Resources, Association of Public & Land-Grant Universities: “APLU strongly supports this effort to reauthorize the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network. Cooperative extension, with their county based/local delivery, is uniquely situated to support and extend efforts to provide stress assistance programs to individuals who are engaged in farming, ranching, and other agriculture-related occupations.”
Minnesota Farm Bureau President Kevin Paap: “With the unique and unpredictable stress and emotional situations in farming, having support when you need it is essential to keeping farmers farming.”
Learn more about the STRESS Act here.