Wisconsin Senator says appropriations bill includes farmer suicide prevention funds

A Wisconsin Senator says the first part of a 1.4 trillion-dollar federal spending package passed Thursday contains funding for agriculture programs.  Democrat Tammy Baldwin says that the first package passed and has been sent to President Trump for his signature. 

It includes the Farmers First suicide prevention program that Baldwin says is getting additional financial support. “It is being implemented as we speak, and we were able to significantly increase the funding available for that program in the next year from two million dollars in the first year of operations to ten million dollars this year.”

Baldwin says the push for including farmer mental health assistance is in last year’s Farm Bill and increasing the funding has been a bipartisan effort. “We’ve pushed this forward creating better opportunities for funding and grants that would go to the folks that are working right with farmers so if they see signs of stress or suicidal behavior, that they’re there to lend support and refer them to someone who can help.”

The agriculture spending package also includes:

  • Retroactively extending the biodiesel tax credit to apply from 2018 through 2022.
  • Twenty million dollars for the Dairy Business Innovation Initiative.
  • An additional six million dollars for ag research at Land-Grant colleges
  • 1.4 billion dollars for the Agricultural Research Service
  • 962 million dollars for the National Institute of Food and Agriculture
  • 1.1 billion dollars to fund the Farm Service Agency including 35 million to help implement the Farm Bill
  • Funding for Rural Opioid Addiction Training
  • An additional 555 million for the ReConnect Program, expanding rural broadband access
  • Full funding of the Farmer and Rancher Stress Assistance Network
  • 1.5 billion dollars in additional disaster aid to cover 2018 and 2019 weather-related events

The Department of Interior funding also includes 320 million dollars for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

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