Letter to The Honorable James Inhofe, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, The Honorable Adam Smith Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, The Honorable Jack Reed, Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and The Honorable Mac Thornberry, Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee - Tester Pushes for His Seeding Rural Resilience Act to Become Law as Part of Must-Pass Annual Defense Bill
As you work to finalize a conference agreement on the Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), we urge you to retain the provision that includes the Seeding Rural Resilience Act (S. 2599/H.R. 4820). It is essential that Congress support folks in production agriculture, especially as they face uncertainty due to weather, trade, and COVID-19.
The Senate and the House of Representatives both recently voted to include the bipartisan text of our Seeding Rural Resilience Act in the FY21 NDAA. Seeding Rural Resilience implements a voluntary stress training across farmer-facing U.S. Department of Agriculture programs, authorizes a Public Service Announcement campaign to reduce the stigma of addressing mental health in agriculture, and directs the Secretary of Agriculture to develop best practices so that local communities can also work to address this issue. While this bill is not a silver bullet in solving the mental health crisis in rural America, it provides important investments for the well-being of folks in farm country. We need to ensure that producers have the resources they need to weather this storm so that they can continue to do what they do best -- feeding the world.
By retaining these critical measures in a conference agreement, Congress can support farm and ranch mental health during a trying time, and broadly continue to support global food security. We respectfully request that you include the Seeding Rural Resilience Act in the FY2021 NDAA conference agreement.