GOP to consider releasing $200K for farmer mental health

Republicans who control the Legislature’s finance committee are set to consider releasing $200,000 to help farmers deal with mental health problems.

The Joint Finance Committee laid out the money as part of the 2019-21 state budget to help farmers struggling with mental health issues but didn’t release it to the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

The committee is set to consider a DATCP request to release the money Wednesday. The department wants to use the money for counseling vouchers, workshops for farmers and partner organizations and creating a new position to help implement mental health assistance.

Mental health issues and suicide are problems among farmers as milk prices plummet.

The National Agricultural Statistics Service found that in 2017 total statewide net cash farm income in Wisconsin declined 22% since 2012. Between 2012 and 2017 the number of Wisconsin farms decreased by more than 7%, more than double the national average of 3.2%.

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