Bipartisan farmer mental health legislation introduced

(ABC 6 News) – On Nov. 15, 2023, Representatives Angie Craig (D-Minn), Randy Feenstra (R-Iowa), Mike Bost (R-Ill.) and Jim Costa (D-Cal.) introduced legislation aiming to expand access to mental health resources in rural communities.

The “Farmers First Act,” if passed, would reauthorize the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network (FRSAN), ensuring rural communities have access to certified behavioral health clinics, critical access hospitals and rural health centers, according to the representatives.

“Farmers and farm workers are some of the toughest, hardest working people I know, but farming is a uniquely stressful job and we’ve got to get them the support they need,” said Craig. “I’m working across the aisle to ensure that farmers and rural Americans know that there are resources available to them to help deal with stress and mental health challenges.”

The Farmers First Act garnered support from the National Farmers Union, the National Rural Health Association, the American Psychological Association, the National Rural Health Association, the National Corn Growers Association, the American Farm Bureau Federation and more.

The bill has an estimated cost of $15 million each year between 2024 through 2028.

The full bill can be read here.