WILLIMANTIC—U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) on Friday relaunched his “Our Farm Bill” listening campaign by joining Connecticut Agriculture Commissioner Bryan P. Hurlburt for a roundtable with local farmers to discuss their priorities for the 2023 Farm Bill. The Farm Bill sets national agriculture, nutrition, conservation, and forestry policy and must be reauthorized by Congress every five years. During the roundtable, more than two dozen farmers and stakeholders from across Connecticut shared their concerns about securing farmland for the next generation, balancing the need for solar farms with the need for crop farms, and ensuring nutritional benefits for children and families are included in the 2023 Farm Bill. Murphy, Hurlburt, and the roundtable participants also discussed ways to better support small farms, aquaculture, and first-generation farmers through U.S. Department of Agriculture programs.
“We have to modernize supports for agriculture, and get more support for small farms and beginning farms. We also have to protect money for nutritional benefits because there are a lot of families in Connecticut, not just in Hartford or New Haven, but in rural Connecticut that need those programs to keep food on the table. That's going to be the fight in this Farm Bill,” said Murphy.
“Once every five years we have the opportunity to address and revise farm policy through the reauthorized Farm Bill. Among our 5,500 farms in the state, which contribute $4 billion to the state’s economy, the average farm size is 69 acres. This means that Connecticut priorities will differ as small and mid-sized diversified farm businesses compared to those in the Midwest and West with substantially larger acreage growing commodity crops. Hearing directly from Connecticut farmers enables us to better understand how we can best support them and appreciate those who took the time to share their thoughts and concerns with us today,” said Hurlburt.
Murphy will share the feedback he gathered during the roundtable and future “Our Farm Bill” listening campaign events with the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee and use that information to inform his advocacy on the 2023 Farm Bill, as he did in 2018.