Emmer ensures funding for stress assistance for America’s farmers and ranchers

Mental health services will be provided to America’s farmers, ranchers and other rural agricultural workers under funding included in a package of fiscal year 2020 appropriations bills for the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network (FRSAN), a reauthorization pushed for by U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN).

“In this trying time, I am pleased farmers, ranchers and Minnesotans living in rural communities will have additional help,” Rep. Emmer said. “The full funding of the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network is a necessary step to connect our rural communities to the healthcare they need.”

The FRSAN program, authorized in 2008, has not received funding and has lapsed, according to Rep. Emmer’s office.

The congressman in March 2018 sponsored the Stemming the Tide of Rural Economic Stress and Suicide (STRESS) Act to reauthorize through FY 2023 and modify the FRSAN, a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) program that provides grants for programs offering mental health services to individuals engaged in farming, ranching and other agriculture-related occupations, according to the bill’s text.

The bill, which also set requirements for USDA to review and evaluate the stress assistance programs carried out using the grants, was reauthorized in the 2018 Farm Bill, his office said.

Minnesota’s rural communities in particular have faced increased stress related to a volatile farm economy and extreme weather conditions including flooding and winter storms, Rep. Emmer’s staff noted.

“I thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for their support. Americans living in farm country, now more than ever, have our full support,” Rep. Emmer said.