Legislation to curb the rising rate of farmer suicides awaits the president’s signature as part of the National Defense Authorization Act.
However, the bill’s future is still uncertain as President Trump threatened to veto the bill over the weekend, despite the appearance of veto-proof support from lawmakers.
The Seeding Rural Resilience Act was included in the defense bill. The legislation creates three initiatives aimed at curbing the growing rate of suicides in rural America.
The bill implements a Farmer-Facing Employee Training Program to the USDA to provide employees with voluntary stress management training. The bill also forms a partnership between the Department of Health and Human Services and USDA to create a $3 million campaign to increase public awareness of farm and ranch stress.
Finally, the bill directs the Secretary of Agriculture to work with state, local and other stakeholders to collaborate and determine best practices for responding to farm and ranch mental stress.