In the years Grant County commissioner Jim Hamsher has worked on ranches, roping steers and feeding cattle in Grant County, he has lost many to suicide. Many ranchers aren’t taught to seek help for mental health challenges, he said. “A lot of times the weight of the whole family farm lies on their shoulders.” Studies show farmers are two to three times more likely to die by suicide than the general public. Oregon legislators are considering providing state money to support the existing AgriStress suicide helpline for people who work the land which operates in Connecticut, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Wyoming. Its operators understand the importance of keeping farms in a family and the added stress of droughts and heat waves. Passage of Senate Bill 955 is largely a question of whether there will be money available when budget wrangling begins at the end of the 2023 Oregon legislative session.

Read Full Story