Text: S.2712 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in Senate (04/19/2018)

 
[Congressional Bills 115th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
[S. 2712 Introduced in Senate (IS)]

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115th CONGRESS
  2d Session
                                S. 2712

 To amend the National Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching 
  Policy Act of 1977 to establish a farm and ranch stress assistance 
                    network, and for other purposes.


_______________________________________________________________________


                   IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

                             April 19, 2018

  Ms. Baldwin (for herself, Mrs. Ernst, Mr. Moran, Ms. Heitkamp, Mr. 
    Gardner, Mr. Bennet, Mr. Hoeven, and Ms. Smith) introduced the 
 following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on 
                  Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
 To amend the National Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching 
  Policy Act of 1977 to establish a farm and ranch stress assistance 
                    network, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Facilitating Accessible Resources 
for Mental health and Encouraging Rural Solutions For Immediate 
Response to Stressful Times Act'' or the ``FARMERS FIRST Act''.

SEC. 2. FARM AND RANCH STRESS ASSISTANCE NETWORKS.

    (a) Findings.--Congress finds that--
            (1) agricultural work continues to be--
                    (A) highly stressful;
                    (B) characterized by uncertainty; and
                    (C) subject to--
                            (i) changing market conditions;
                            (ii) the unpredictable nature of weather; 
                        and
                            (iii) other factors beyond the control of 
                        agricultural producers;
            (2) individuals working in agriculture have the highest 
        overall suicide rate among all occupations;
            (3) access to behavioral health care is often limited among 
        individuals working in agriculture due to time and geographical 
        constraints; and
            (4) agricultural workers are in need of specialized 
        behavioral health programs that are--
                    (A) affordable;
                    (B) available as needed; and
                    (C) carried out with understanding of concerns 
                specific to agricultural work.
    (b) Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance.--The National Agricultural 
Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 1977 is amended by 
inserting after subtitle I (7 U.S.C. 3291 et seq.) the following:

             ``Subtitle J--Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance

``SEC. 1460. DEFINITIONS.

    ``In this subtitle:
            ``(1) Affected individual.--The term `affected individual' 
        means any individual engaged, as determined by the Secretary, 
        in--
                    ``(A) farming;
                    ``(B) ranching; or
                    ``(C) another agriculture-related occupation.
            ``(2) Committee.--The term `Committee' means the Farm and 
        Ranch Stress Assessment Committee established under section 
        1461A(a).
            ``(3) National network.--The term `national network' means 
        the National Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network 
        established under section 1461(b)(1).
            ``(4) State network.--The term `State network' means a 
        State farm and ranch stress assistance network established 
        under section 1461(a)(1).

``SEC. 1461. FARM AND RANCH STRESS ASSISTANCE NETWORKS.

    ``(a) State Networks.--
            ``(1) Grants.--The Secretary, in coordination with the 
        Secretary of Health and Human Services, shall establish a 
        program under which the Secretary shall provide competitive 
        grants to State departments of agriculture, State cooperative 
        extension services, and nonprofit organizations to carry out 
        eligible cooperative programs described in paragraph (2).
            ``(2) Description of eligible cooperative programs.--An 
        eligible cooperative program referred to in paragraph (1) is a 
        program--
                    ``(A) established and carried out by a partnership 
                between--
                            ``(i) one or more State departments of 
                        agriculture, one or more State cooperative 
                        extension services, or one or more nonprofit 
                        organizations, as applicable; and
                            ``(ii) entities providing appropriate 
                        services in the one or more States; and
                    ``(B) the purpose of which is to establish a farm 
                and ranch stress assistance network to provide stress 
                assistance programs to affected individuals, including 
                counseling and support (including behavioral health 
                counseling and referral for other forms of assistance, 
                as necessary) through--
                            ``(i) farm telephone helplines and internet 
                        websites;
                            ``(ii) training for advocates for affected 
                        individuals and other individuals or entities 
                        that may assist affected individuals in crises, 
                        including training programs and workshops;
                            ``(iii) support groups;
                            ``(iv) outreach services and activities, 
                        including the dissemination of information and 
                        materials; and
                            ``(v) home delivery of assistance, in any 
                        case in which a farm resident is homebound.
            ``(3) Use of funds.--A competitive grant provided under 
        this subsection may be used to enter into a contract, on a 
        multiyear basis, with a community-based, direct-service 
        organization to initiate, expand, or maintain an eligible 
        cooperative program in the State.
    ``(b) National Network.--
            ``(1) Establishment.--The Secretary, in coordination with 
        the Secretary of Health and Human Services, shall establish a 
        National Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network to coordinate 
        stress assistance programs on a national scale for affected 
        individuals, including through programs and activities 
        described in subsection (a)(2)(B).
            ``(2) Director.--The Secretary, in coordination with the 
        Secretary of Health and Human Services, shall appoint an 
        individual in the Department of Agriculture to be the Director 
        of the national network.
    ``(c) Authorization of Appropriations.--Notwithstanding any other 
provision of law, there is authorized to be appropriated to the 
Secretary to carry out activities through the national network and 
State networks $10,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2019 through 2023.

``SEC. 1461A. FARM AND RANCH STRESS ASSESSMENT COMMITTEE.

    ``(a) Establishment.--Not later than 90 days after the date of 
enactment of the FARMERS FIRST Act, the Secretary and the Secretary of 
Health and Human Services shall establish an advisory committee, to be 
known as the `Farm and Ranch Stress Assessment Committee'.
    ``(b) Membership.--The Committee shall consist of--
            ``(1) the Secretary (or a designee);
            ``(2) the Secretary of Health and Human Services (or a 
        designee);
            ``(3) the Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services 
        for Mental Health and Substance Abuse (or a designee);
            ``(4) the Administrator of the Health Resources and 
        Services Administration (or a designee);
            ``(5) the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and 
        Prevention (or a designee);
            ``(6) the Director of the National Institutes of Health;
            ``(7) the Under Secretary for Rural Development (or a 
        designee); and
            ``(8) 4 members, to be appointed by the Secretary, one of 
        which shall be a representative of each of--
                    ``(A) affected individuals;
                    ``(B) behavioral health professionals;
                    ``(C) advocates for affected individuals; and
                    ``(D) as appropriate, other experts in occupational 
                stress and behavioral health among affected 
                individuals.
    ``(c) Meetings.--The Committee shall meet not fewer than 2 times 
each year.
    ``(d) Report.--
            ``(1) In general.--Not later than 1 year after the date of 
        enactment of the FARMERS FIRST Act, the Committee shall submit 
        to Congress and any other relevant Federal department or 
        agency, and make publicly available, a report describing the 
        state of behavioral and mental health in farmers and ranchers.
            ``(2) Contents.--The report under paragraph (1) shall 
        include--
                    ``(A) an inventory and assessment of efforts to 
                support the behavioral and mental health of farmers and 
                ranchers by--
                            ``(i) the Federal Government, States, and 
                        units of local government;
                            ``(ii) communities that are comprised of 
                        farmers and ranchers;
                            ``(iii) healthcare providers;
                            ``(iv) State cooperative extension 
                        services; and
                            ``(v) other entities, as determined by the 
                        Secretary;
                    ``(B) a description of the challenges faced by 
                farmers and ranchers (including financial, medical, and 
                other challenges) that may impact the behavioral and 
                mental health of farmers and ranchers;
                    ``(C) an evaluation of the impact of farmer and 
                rancher suicides on--
                            ``(i) the agricultural workforce;
                            ``(ii) agricultural production;
                            ``(iii) rural families and communities; and
                            ``(iv) succession planning; and
                    ``(D) an outline of a long-term strategy and 
                recommendations based on best practices to appropriate 
                Federal departments or agencies for addressing the 
                challenges identified under subparagraph (B).''.
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