Farmers from across Connecticut shared their top priorities and concerns with Senator Chris Murphy Friday.
Murphy hosted the listening session to hear from farmers as Congress begins the process of reauthorizing the Farm Bill.
"The Farm Bill is passed by congress every five years. It authorizes all of the programs that keep our farms alive, that help beginning farms thrive, but it also includes all of the money to fund child nutrition and family nutrition," Murphy said.
He said the Farm Bill is one of the biggest funding bills that Congress passes.
Local farmers said what ends up in the national legislation impacts their work in Connecticut.
"I want to make sure that they are thinking of us when they are putting the language in the legislation," said Suzie Flores, a sugar kelp farmer in Stonington and owner of Stonington Kelp Co.
During Friday's listening session, Flores said she would like to see certain education programs, like Farm to School, expand.
"Support in developing resources around education, support in developing recipe testing, recipe development, getting the public aware, making sure local restaurants are not afraid to put this on the menu," Flores said. "The Farm Bill can touch on all of these aspects."
Other farmers raised concerns over land access issues in Connecticut.
Shawn Joseph is co-owner of an urban farm, Park City Harvest, in Bridgeport.
"Just being first generation farmers, the access to capital to access that land and to obtain that real estate whether it be through owning it or leasing it," Joseph said.
The listening session is just the beginning. Murphy said that the new Farm Bill will most likely not be passed until later this year or next year.