Groups want Congress to fully fund Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network

YANKTON, S.D. (WNAX) – A coalition of ag groups led by the American Farm Bureau Federation and National Farmers Union wants Congress to fully fund the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network in next year’s budget.

South Dakota Farm Bureau President Scott VanderWal says more money for mental health services is badly needed in rural America.

He says the current prolonged farm economy downturn is causing even greater stress for farmers and ranchers as net farm income in 2018 was nearly 50 percent less than it was in 2013.

VanderWal says coupling the depressed ag economy with flooding damage and blizzard impacts makes that stress even worse.

Congress in their 2019 Fiscal Year Budget provided $2 million for a pilot of the Stress Assistance Network program. The Ag Coalition is asking for full funding of it in FY 2020 at $10 million.