Support for farmer mental health and a pink budget image

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Support for farmer mental health and a pink budget image

By: Senator Mike Goggin

Those of you who have followed my work in the legislature know that improving mental health treatment and support is one of my top priorities, especially for farmers and people in rural Minnesota. Those of us who live outside the metro face different barriers to mental health resources than those in the Twin Cities. I have worked not only to bring these obstacles to light, but also to find solutions to resolve them.

We have had significant mental health successes here in Minnesota, such as the inclusion of $ 100,000 for on-farm and agricultural mental health awareness that was in our most recent farm budget. We also used federal resources to help with outreach in rural Minnesota. In late October, the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced that the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) and 11 project partners would receive 500 $ 000 in federal funding to tackle the mental health of farmers and rural areas.

According to the announcement, MDA’s “Bend, Don’t Break” initiative will build on existing efforts to connect farmers and people in rural Minnesota with resources to help reduce stress, the anxiety and crisis situations, such as drought that affects many Minnesota farms and ranches. It will support, improve and promote services, such as mental health counseling, agricultural advocates, marriage retreats and a 24/7 agricultural and rural helpline.

MDA will partner with a number of groups across the state to effectively use this funding, including the American Indian Community Housing Organization, Big River Farms, Farmers’ Legal Action Group, Latino Economic Development Center, Leech Lake Tribal College , Minnesota Dairy Initiative, Minnesota Department of Health, Red River Farm Network, South Central College, University of Minnesota Extension, and Urban Farm & Garden Alliance.

Upcoming State Budget Forecast Update

The Minnesota Department of Revenue will release a new report on the state’s finances on December 7. These forecasts will serve as a guide for the decisions that lawmakers will have to make in the next session – at least until the publication of the next forecasts in February which will provide us with concrete figures.

Not only do we expect the state to have a budget surplus, it is very possible that the surplus is large. This is both good and bad news: having a surplus is definitely better than a deficit, and that means we shouldn’t have a problem funding the critical priorities we all agree on. But it also means that the state has collected too much from taxpayers. It remains to be seen how much we over-raised, as Minnesota has also received a lot of federal aid that can skew the numbers. Keep an eye on this report when it is released.

Contact mee

If you have any questions about the state budget, farmer mental health resources, or any other issue the lawmaker is working on, please feel free to contact me anytime at [email protected] or at 651-296-5612. It is a privilege to serve you!

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