Mental health funding increase for agricultural businesses

Low commodity prices are taking a toll on farmers and their families across the state. There is indication that financial hardship is creating stress, which is in turn triggering increases in death by suicide, divorce, and substance abuse rates. Several bills were heard this week to increase funding to help farmers and their families deal with the stress of running a business. Many of the bills heard look to add funding for an additional mental health counselor; currently, the state only has one counselor available to aid farmers. Other bills heard this session would provide business assistance for farmers and farmers’ families struggling with financial hardships. (SF 1010, SF 553, SF 251, SF 1726, SF 1722, SF 1723)