Ag News

Seeding Rural Resilience Act to help farmers combat stress

Sens. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) introduced the Seeding Rural Resilience Act (S.2599), which is designed to help farmers respond to stress and decrease the stigma associated with mental health care in rural communities.

According to a the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) in April 2019, a strong majority of farmers and farmworkers say financial issues (91%), farm or business problems (88%) and fear of losing the farm (87%) impact the mental health of farmers and ranchers, and nearly half of rural adults (48%) say they are experiencing more mental health challenges than they were a year ago.

The bill would implement an employee training program that requires the USDA to provide voluntary stress management training to Farm Service Agency, Risk Management Agency and Natural Resources Conservation Service employees who work with farmers.

The bill would form a partnership between the Department of Health and Human Services and USDA to create a $3 million public service announcement campaign to increase public awareness of farm and ranch stress and destigmatize mental health care in rural communities.

The full text of the Seeding Rural Resilience Act is available at

Anyone experiencing a mental health crisis can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24/7 at 1-800-273-TALK, or 1-800-273-8255.