The co-chairs of the legislature’s Joint Finance Committee have held up the funding for a program to provide low cost mental health assessments for farmers.
In statements on Tuesday, Senator Alberta Darling and Representative John Nygren told the ag department that they need to meet with a Republican led study group on suicide prevention first.
State Ag Secretary-Designee Brad Pfaff says that’s disappointing because those funds should already be going to farmers. “Funds that have already been approved. Approved by the legislature, and signed into law by the Governor.”
Pfaff says there is now only enough funding in the program to help five farmers total.
“Quite frankly we’re down to just a handful of vouchers that we can provide at this time for our farmers who are seeking mental health counselling assistance.”
“Really difficult weather conditions, market prices that don’t make ends meet, and then we’ve got this trade war that’s taking place. And it’s impacting our farmers. There’s a lot of stress in the countryside.”
Funding for that program was set aside to the Finance Committee’s own discretionary fund, and the JFC required DATCP to come back to the committee to get the funding.