The bill creates the agricultural and rural community behavioral health liaison (liaison) position in the behavioral health administration (BHA) to serve as a liaison between the BHA, department of agriculture (department), behavioral health-care providers, rural community leaders, agricultural communities, and nonprofit organizations that serve agricultural communities. The liaison shall:
- Engage in statewide community outreach to educate communities on the impact of behavioral health issues facing farmers, ranchers, and other individuals involved in agricultural or rural communities;
- Establish interdepartmental relationships; and
- Develop an understanding of and address the root causes of behavioral health issues in the agricultural industry and in rural communities.
The bill creates the agricultural behavioral health community of practice work group (work group) in the department. The purpose of the work group is to convene a group of leaders and experts in agriculture and behavioral health care to improve access to behavioral health care for those involved in agriculture. The work group consists of at least 7 members and shall:
- Compile best practices to provide behavioral health care to those involved in agriculture;
- Identify gaps in access to comprehensive behavioral health care for those involved in agriculture;
- Engage with other stakeholders involved in behavioral health care focused on those involved in agriculture; and
- Collect data on behavioral health-care outcomes in agricultural communities and steps taken to support those involved in agriculture through behavioral health initiatives and programs.
The work group is scheduled for sunset review and repeal on September 1, 2029.
The bill establishes the agricultural behavioral health grant program (grant program) in the department. The purpose of the grant program is to:
- Continue existing programs or create new programs that address the root causes of behavioral health issues in the agricultural industry or in rural communities;
- Strengthen collaborative efforts between organizations and communities in addressing the root causes of behavioral health issues in the agricultural industry or in rural communities; and
- Improve access to health, wellness, and behavioral health care for farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural industry workers.
The bill requires the department to contract with a statewide agricultural organization to convene an in-person annual summit for organizations with an interest in promoting and providing behavioral health care to agricultural communities.
The department and the BHA are required to enter into an interagency agreement to share data collected in the course of addressing behavioral health-care issues in the agricultural industry and in rural communities.
On or before January 1, 2026, and each January 1 thereafter, the department is required to submit a report summarizing data collected by the work group, and data collected from grant recipients, to the agriculture, water, and natural resources committee and the health and human services committee of the house of representatives and the agriculture and natural resources committee and the health and human services committee of the senate, or their successor committees, and the BHA. On or before January 1, 2027, and each January 1 thereafter, the department shall include in the report a summary of the data collected regarding the in-person annual summit.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as introduced.)