WASHINGTON–U.S. Senators Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), and Angus King (I-Maine) on Thursday introduced bipartisan legislation to reauthorize and improve the Partnership for Risk Management Education and the Agricultural Management Assistance (AMA) programs, which help farmers manage financial risk through diversification, marketing, or conservation practices. The AMA is only available to 16 states that have historically low rates of participation in the Federal Crop Insurance Program, including Connecticut and Maine.

The Agriculture Management Assistance Act would boost funding for the AMA to $30 million, increase funding limits for farmers to $200,000 over five years, and expand the eligible uses for these funds to include: soil health improvements, composting, implementing organic farming, developing value-added processing, and food safety certification in addition to existing authorized uses such as water management structure and soil erosion control.

“Connecticut farms are smaller, grow more diverse crops, and face a unique set of challenges compared to the large, single crop farms that get the bulk of federal assistance. The AMA is an important source of funding that helps our farmers deal with financial risks and strengthen their businesses. I’m glad to be working with Senator Collins and King on this bipartisan legislation to support farmers in our states,” said Murphy.

“When it comes to agriculture and unpredictable weather patterns, diversification is the key to resiliency,” said Collins.  “From improving irrigation systems to implementing conservation measures to engaging in value-added processing, our bipartisan legislation would make investments that support farms for the long term. In addition to helping farmers reduce financial risk, investments in these types of projects would also help strengthen rural economies and improve food security.”

“Maine farmers work hard to produce healthy crops that will support their families and put food on the table for all our communities,” said King. “The Agricultural Management Assistance Act would build on the successful AMA program to help our state’s farmers get more federal funding for the important water management and irrigation infrastructure that makes their life-nourishing work possible. This will mean future-proofing farms so they can better withstand erosion, pests, and threats from a changing climate through a program that is tailored for states like Maine with smaller diversified agriculture. I’m grateful for the partnership of Senators Murphy and Collins and for their continued support of our small farming communities.”

Full text of the bill is available here.

This month, Murphy relaunched his “Our Farm Bill” listening campaign to discuss priorities and gather feedback from Connecticut farmers ahead of the 2023 Farm Bill.