Small farms are the lifeblood of Connecticut agriculture, contributing a whopping $2 billion to the state’s economy each year. Since I was elected to the Senate, I’ve set about listening to our state’s farmers about what matters most to them and fighting for these priorities in Washington.
When the state’s dairy farmers complained about the high cost of shipping milk across state lines, I fought successfully to change federal regulations on milk trucking to allow bigger, less-costly milk transports to pick up milk from farms across Connecticut. It was a small change, but it will mean tens of thousands of dollars in savings to small dairy producers, and that’s a big deal for their bottom line. As Congress considered the budget for 2018, I continued to fight for Connecticut’s dairy farmers, helping to secure $1 billion in relief to dairy producers by making improvements to the Margin Protection Program and other insurance products like LGM-Dairy.
As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I also want to make sure that new farmers have the resources they need to be successful in our state. That is why I worked to help Connecticut receive a Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Grant. UCONN is using this grant to provide training and technical assistance to beginning farmers across Connecticut. I also introduced legislation, called the Student Loan Forgiveness for Farmers and Ranchers Act, which creates a student loan forgiveness program for beginning farmers and ranchers with less than 10 years of experience. The program would also be available to veteran, women, socially-disadvantaged, and minority farmers.
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