Wisconsin farmers in crisis; mental health funding delayed

NOW: Wisconsin farmers in crisis; mental health funding delayed

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- From falling prices, to rising tariffs, Wisconsin farmers are seeing more and more challenges. That's leading some to struggle not just financially, but also with their mental health.

80-year-old Richard guy, a dairy farmer from Sparta has seen those challenges. “Can’t pay the bills, that’s all there is to it," he said. "With dairy price like it is, we’re getting less for milk than we did 40 years ago.”

In a few years, he’s hoping to pass on the family farm to his 18-year-old grandson, but they question whether that’ll happen.

“I hope that I’ll be able to take it over, but with the way things are going now and you see all your neighboring farmers getting out of business, every day you wake up and wonder when will we be next,” said Hunter Guy.

With stress and bills piling up, the crisis is causing mental health issues within the farming community. An increasing number are becoming depressed, according to experts.

State lawmakers have discussed funding, so farmers can seek mental health services, however Republicans and Democrats couldn’t come to an agreement.

“Unfortunately, the joint finance committee didn’t release that money for us to use it, and it seems like something that would make common sense,” said Gov. Tony Evers.

Funding is currently on hold, awaiting further committee approval, which could happen in the fall.

Meantime, farmers like Guy feel something needs to be done right away. “I'm beginning to wonder if the politicians have a real idea what it’s really like, that's what gets me.”

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