Mike Goggin

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 rural Minnesotans. Those of us who live outside the metro face different obstacles to mental health resources than folks in the Twin Cities do. I have been working to not just shine a light on those obstacles but find solutions to fix them.

We’ve had significant successes addressing mental health here in Minnesota, such as including $100,000 for Farm and Agriculture Mental Health Outreach that was in our most recent agriculture budget. 

We also have utilized federal resources to help outreach in rural Minnesota. At the end of October, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture announced that the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and 11 project partners would receive $500,000 in federal funding to address farmer and rural mental health.

Per the announcement, the MDA’s “Bend, Don’t Break” initiative will build upon existing efforts to connect farmers and rural Minnesotans with resources to help reduce stress, anxiety, and crisis situations, such as the drought that is affecting many Minnesota farms and ranches. It will support, improve, and promote services, such as mental health counseling, farm advocates, marriage retreats, and a 24/7 Farm & Rural Helpline.

MDA will partner with a number of groups around 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.

Budget forecast 

The Minnesota Department of Revenue will release a new report on the state’s finances on December 7. This forecast will serve as a guide for the decisions legislators have to make next session -- at least until the next forecast comes out in February that will provide us with concrete numbers.

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

Contact me

If you have any questions about the state budget, farmer mental health resources or any other issue the legislature is working on, feel free to contact me any time at sen.mike.goggin@senate.mn or 651-296-5612.

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