Ahead of the Senate Agriculture Committee's debate on the 2013 Farm Bill, Committee member Senator William "Mo" Cowan (D-Mass.) today urged his colleagues to preserve the agriculture and nutrition priorities that are vital to farms and individuals across Massachusetts.
Senator Cowan is the Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Subcommittee on Nutrition, Specialty Crops, Food and Agricultural Research. It is the first time a Massachusetts Senator has sat on the Senate Agriculture Committee since 1879 and only the third time since the Committee was established in 1825.
"Massachusetts is home to one of the most dynamic and growing networks of local and regional food producers in the country. We have long-time farmers working to hold on to businesses that have been in their families for generations, and we have those who are just starting out in the field. Our farmers are doing daring and creative things every day to become more sustainable and improve nutrition for their local communities, and I will be a voice for them during this debate. I will also be a voice for those across the country who rely on our critical nutrition programs and the fishermen who risk their lives to put food on our tables," said Senator Cowan. "Over these last three months, it has been inspiring to listen to and learn from the farmers and fishermen across the Commonwealth and how Congress can work to support them. They are incredibly important to our state's economy, and I plan to make sure their priorities are reflected and carried out in this bill."
Earlier this month, Cowan held two listening sessions in Middleborough and Worcester to highlight the importance of Massachusetts' agriculture sectors and to hear from local farmers and agriculture industry representatives about their priorities for the 2013 Farm Bill.
Senator Cowan also urges his colleagues to support and protect the following programs and provisions in the 2013 Farm Bill:
Conservation Compliance for Farmers that Use Crop Insurance
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Funding (SNAP)
The Emergency Food Assistance Program Funding (TEFAP)
Healthy Incentives Program
Local Farmer's Markets
The Senior Farmer's Market Nutrition Program
Local and Regional Food Networks
Programs that support Beginning Farmers
The Specialty Crop Block Grant Program
The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP)
The Dairy Production Margin Protection Program (DPMPP)
The Dairy Market Stabilization Program (DMSP)
The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)
The Farm and Ranchland Protection (FRPP)
The National Organic Certification Cost-Share Program
Whole Farm and Organic Farm Insurance