America’s farmers, farmhands, and ranchers serve one of our most important needs – they feed our nation and sustain our communities. They manage our country so they have the power to care for us, generation after generation. They provide meaningful jobs to millions of people rooted in the rewards of hard work and the beauty of nature. They help boost our economy and enable our country to compete in markets around the world. During National Farm Safety and Health Week, we commit to improving the safety and well-being of everyone working on our farms.
Despite all they do for our nation, we know the many obstacles that farmers, farmhands and ranchers face. Extreme weather – more frequent and severe due to the climate crisis – can jeopardize or destroy a season’s harvest, requiring months or even years of investment and commitment. Fluctuating commodity prices and input costs can squeeze profit margins and herald hard, lean years. Accidents and injuries can cut precious lives short, dramatically threaten the livelihoods of survivors and their families, and deprive businesses of the people they can rely on.
My administration supports the implementation of strict health and safety standards on farms and ranches. With up to $65 million from the American Rescue Plan, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is helping reduce the risk of injury on farms, ranches and processing plants. The USDA is also investing $100 million in partnerships with unions and other workforce development professionals to improve farm workers’ skills. For the first time, in the face of another season of extreme and deadly heat, the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has launched a program to conduct indoor and outdoor heat-related workplace inspections.
My government is making health insurance more affordable and health care more accessible, which is especially important for farmers, ranchers, and farm workers who sustain injuries. My government’s Inflation Reduction Act and American Rescue Plan lowered annual premiums for families across the country. My administration has made a historic investment of $1.5 billion in health worker loan repayments and grant programs to incentivize primary care physicians and other health care providers to work in underserved areas, including rural and tribal communities. We provide federal field workers with training on how to best use mental health resources and communication strategies, while scaling our investment in programs that provide professional behavioral counseling and other services to farm workers. We also call for programs that reduce loan repayments for mental health and substance use disorder clinicians committed to practicing in rural and other underserved communities.
Supporting the well-being of our farmers, farm workers and ranchers also means protecting their financial health. Last year I signed the Act to Extend Federal Funding and Provision of Emergency Assistance, which includes $10 billion in aid to agricultural producers affected by wildfires, droughts, hurricanes and winter storms. My administration also announced $700 million in grants available to state agencies, tribal organizations, and nonprofits to provide financial relief to farm workers and meatpackers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. We are committed to ensuring that farm workers can do their jobs safely and that they can recover from accidents and injuries with dignity and financial security.
This week we redouble our efforts to protect the health and safety of farmers, farm workers and ranchers, and we celebrate the immense contributions they have made and continue to make to our nation.
THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, hereby proclaim September 18 through September 24, 2022 as National Farm Safety and Health Week . I call on the people of the United States, including America’s farmers and ranchers, and institutions, organizations and businesses related to agriculture, to reaffirm their commitment to farm safety and health. I also call on all Americans to express appreciation and gratitude to our farmers, farmhands and ranchers for their tireless service to our nation.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF I have hereby signed this
on the sixteenth of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand and twenty-two and of the independence of the United States of America on the two hundred and forty-seventh.
JOSEPH R BIDEN JR