More on Agriculture
February 17, 2017 Press Release
“America needs a new generation of farmers, now more than ever,” said Courtney. “The number of new farmers entering the field of agriculture has dropped by 20 percent, while the average farmer age has now risen above 58-years-old. The skyrocketing cost of higher education and the growing burden of student loan debt are presenting major obstacles for young farmers. The burden of student loan debt can thwart their ability to purchase the farming operations they need to get started or drive them away from a career in agriculture altogether. This legislation would assist new farmers during the costly, initial phases of opening a farming business, and allow them a fighting chance to build a life on the farm for themselves and their families.”
“Our dairy farmers have been hit extremely hard by low farm milk prices that have sharply reduced incomes,” wrote the members. “Globally-depressed prices are hurting U.S. farmers, and leaving the dairy industry with few options to deal with the glut of low-price milk on global markets. These dairy farms make up the backbone of our rural economy, and farms both large and small act as economic drivers, providing local jobs and supporting a wide array of other businesses. If we have any hope for our rural economies to rebound and grow economically, we must act quickly to address the financial crisis hitting the nation’s dairy farms.”
August 23, 2016 Press Release
“The dairy industry in Connecticut and across the country is continuing to struggle with tight margins and decreasing milk prices,” said Courtney. “While I appreciate USDA’s quick response to our urgent request for assistance for our dairy farmers, it is clear that this modest first step does not go far enough to make a substantial difference on the ground. I will continue to work with my colleagues to find long-term, comprehensive solutions to lift up our nation’s struggling dairy industry.”
August 18, 2016 Press Release
“The USDA ‘beginning farmers’ grant is great news not only for student farmers at UConn, but for the entire Connecticut farming community,” said Courtney. “We should be doing everything we can to support young people who want to enter this field of work in order to maintain Connecticut’s traditional farming industry.”
August 4, 2016 Press Release
“While the national margin between milk prices and feed costs continues to shrink, dairy farmers in Connecticut—where energy and feed costs are typically greater—have been struggling with tight margins for the past year,” Courtney said. “The latest announcement on MPP payouts will certainly aid a number of struggling farms in Connecticut, but I am hopeful that this is only the first of several steps the USDA will take to turn the dairy industry around in the U.S.”
“I have witnessed firsthand the struggle that dairy farmers around the country face with decreasing milk prices,” said Representative Courtney. “As milk prices have steadily declined over the last half century, Connecticut has seen its dairy industry shrink from over 800 farms to about 150 today. Reopening or starting a new dairy farm is a herculean task, which is why when one closes, more often than not, no farm will replace it. The American dairy industry is an integral part of our agriculture economy and as we face yet another milk crisis, it is more important than ever for the Department of Agriculture to lend a hand to our dairy farmers before it’s too late.”
“We write to raise a growing concern of our constituents in the fishing industry who are facing extreme economic hardship related to the structure of fisheries management across the Northeast and mid-Atlantic,” the lawmakers wrote. “On several occasions during town halls and meetings in Connecticut with many of the fishermen who operate in the state, we have repeatedly heard concerns that black sea bass, summer flounder, and scup have migrated northward, but the state-by-state allocations for these species still reflect historical numbers when they were in greater abundance in the mid-Atlantic. These outdated allocations are disadvantaging fishermen in the Northeast."
"As Members of Congress from states with rich fishing heritage and storied maritime industries, we write today to voice our concerns about the current fishery management structure for the black sea bass, summer flounder, and scup fish stocks,” wrote the delegation members. “As fluctuations in ocean temperatures shift fish populations northward, New England fishermen are unfairly shortchanged when bountiful stocks managed by a Fishery Management Council outside of their region allocates local states low catch quotas."
May 18, 2016 Press Release
“I am deeply disappointed that the majority leadership of our committee has decided to squander this opportunity to pass bipartisan legislation on an issue I think we all can get behind like child nutrition, and that’s why I voted against moving this bill forward earlier today,” said Courtney. “Making sure children are provided with adequate, nutritious meals is just as important as providing them with good teachers, and with quality textbooks. We know that children, who cannot get enough to eat at home and in school, cannot succeed to their full potential."
April 12, 2016 Press Release
“We need to do everything we can to support our small farmers and local agriculture,” said Congressman Courtney. “It is unfair that dairy farmers across the Northeast, including in Connecticut, are forced to calculate their feed costs based on averages that are heavily weighted toward Midwest farming operations. The system established under the recent Farm Bill puts farming operations in our region at a competitive disadvantage, and our farmers have asked that we take action to level the playing field. I would like to thank Reps. Gibson and Welch for their support on this issue, and we intend to keep fighting until we get this change passed.”