Today, Representative Antonio Delgado (NY-19) announced $480,000 in funding for the National Young Farmers Coalition based in Hudson, New York from the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. This funding will be used to develop a Farm Ranch Stress Assistance Network (FRSAN) in the Northeast Region. This program, established in the 2018 Farm Bill, seeks to assist farmers, ranchers, and other agriculture-related workers in times of stress and offer a conduit to improving behavioral health awareness, literacy, and outcomes for them and their families. During the Fiscal Year 2020 appropriations process, Rep. Delgado led a bipartisan letter urging that the program be funded at designated levels of $10 million.

“The continued downturn in the farm economy leaves small family farmers in communities across our district under incredible stress,” said Representative Delgado. “I am deeply committed to supporting our small farmers and I’m pleased to see significant Farm Ranch Stress Assistance Network (FRSAN) funding for the National Young Farmers Coalition’s pilot program to alleviate the mental strain placed on family farmers across the Northeast. I look forward to supporting the work of Hudson’s Young Farmers and will continue leading my Congressional colleagues in pushing for critical FRSAN funding in Fiscal Year 2020 and beyond.”

"Farmers are providing a critical public service to our communities but many are struggling. We're glad that the USDA is putting funding to support the well-being of our nation's farmers through the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network program. Over the next year we'll work with our partners, FarmAid and Vermont Farm First, to convene our region's behavioral health experts, farm service providers, and farming communities so that the Northeast can provide better access and resources for mental health as well as address the economic factors that weigh heavily on our farm communities," said Martin Lemos, Co-Executive Director, National Young Farmers Coalition.

FRSAN, established in the 2018 Farm Bill, was created to establish a network that assists farmers, ranchers, and other agriculture-related workers in times of stress and offer a conduit to improving behavioral health awareness, literacy, and outcomes for them and their families. Today’s funding from NIFA was distributed to four regional entities to help launch the network in North Central, Northeast, Southern, and Western regions. The long-term expectation is that agriculture producers and their families will now have greater opportunities to find help in their communities and states.

As a member of the Agriculture, Transportation and Infrastructure, and Small Business Committees, Delgado has prioritized bringing the voices of small farmers to Washington and secure passage of the Family Farmer Relief Act. Rep. Delgado introduced H.R. 2336, the Family Farmer Relief Act in April, and in June, testified before the House Judiciary Committee on his bill and the plight of small farms today. The President signed the legislation into law on August 23. The 19th Congressional District is home to just under 5,000 farms and 96% of these farms are family-owned. Rep. Delgado represents the eighth most rural district in the country and the third most rural Democratic district. In his first ten months in office, Rep. Delgado has established and met with his Agriculture Advisory Committee, toured more than 25 farms, and sat down with local farmers across the district to hear about localized infrastructure, technology needs, and sustainable farming practices.