Photo of Senator Kennedy.

State Senator

Ted Kennedy, Jr.

Representing Branford, Durham, Guilford, Killingworth, Madison & North Branford

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Senator Kennedy Named 2017 Legislative Leader By Connecticut Farm Bureau

Kennedy recognized for his leadership in Connecticut agriculture as Co-Chair of the Environment Committee

Kennedy Farm Bureau
Senator Ted Kennedy, Jr. receives 2017 Connecticut Farm Bureau Legislative Leadership Award from Don Tuller, Chair, and Henry Talmage, Executive Director of the Connecticut Farm Bureau.

NORTH HAVEN--The Connecticut Farm Bureau (CFB) recognized Senator Ted Kennedy, Jr. today with its 2017 Legislative Leadership Award for his outstanding commitment to Connecticut farmers and the State’s agricultural economy. The CFB is Connecticut’s leading advocacy organization representing over 3,400 farmers and other members of Connecticut’s agriculture sector.

“Farming has been an important part of Connecticut’s economy, history and identity. We need to do everything that we can to preserve and protect local farmers,” said Senator Kennedy, Co-Chair of the Environment Committee. “Land and labor costs are high in Connecticut, and local Connecticut farmers are struggling to compete with larger, industrial-size farms of the Midwest and overseas. There is enormous financial pressure for farmers to sell their land to housing and industrial developers. Since being elected to the state senate, I have worked hard to modernize our agricultural policies so that our local farmers have the resources to succeed in the modern economy.”

“Working collaboratively with the Connecticut Farm Bureau, I have been able to write and pass important new laws that support our farmers, diversify their income stream and attract new entrants into the farm sector. We have fortified the CT Grown initiative, strengthened our farmland preservation efforts, enacted protections for bees and other pollinators, and established farm brewery and distillery pathways to complement our successful farm winery program. Recognizing that less then 5 percent of all food served in our local school cafeterias is produced in Connecticut, we enacted a preference for food service companies who source local products. Most recently, we simplified the permitting pathway for anaerobic digesters that will allow farmers to become renewable energy producers,” added Senator Kennedy.

“We wanted to give this award to the Chairs of the Environment Committee to acknowledge the fact that this committee has been very supportive of agriculture in Connecticut,” said Henry Talmage, Executive Director of the Connecticut Farm Bureau. “Senator Kennedy in particular has taken the time to meet with us and our farmer members to understand the challenges facing Connecticut agriculture. The fact that the Environment committee is where most of the legislation affecting agriculture starts, it is a huge advantage to have such strong leadership in Senator Kennedy on Critical agricultural issues.

“We certainly appreciate that as chair of the Committee, Senator Kennedy takes the time to understand the issues and policy objectives that we need to get across. I think we’ve made some great progress with the food safety modernization legislation that was passed, which established the Department of Agriculture as the lead agency in FSMA enforcement. It was a complicated, technical issue and he took the time to understand it and work with us to get it through. He was also instrumental in the farm brewery legislation, the solar panel on farmland issue, farm power issues and others.”

“I’d like to thank Senator Kennedy for his commitment to agriculture in CT. As Co-chair of the Environment Committee he has made sure that the challenges we face every day as farmers are reflected in good legislation. My family appreciates that he has visited our farm and toured our operation to see firsthand what we do and to understand our family farm,” said Melissa Greenbacker, owner of Greenbacker’s Dairy Farm in Durham.

“Ted has proactively interacted with and visited farmers in our district, attended Farm Bureau meetings and as a result been a dedicated learner and supporter to fairly protect working agriculture and the special concerns I have as a farmer,” said Keith Bishop, Co-Owner and Co-CEO of Bishop’s Orchards in Guilford.

As Co-Chair of the Environment Committee, Senator Kennedy has worked to draft and pass multiple agriculture laws. Some of the most recent laws he introduced and passed include:

Bringing “Cow Power” to Connecticut Farms
Senate Bill 943, now Public Act 17-218, promotes the use of cow manure and food waste as a renewable energy source through the process of anaerobic digestion. The bill also creates an easier, cheaper and faster regulatory permitting process for farmers who are interested in adopting this technology.

Growing Connecticut’s “Farm Brewing” Economy
There are currently about 60 craft brewers in Connecticut, generating a $1 billion impact to the state economy. Senator Kennedy introduced and passed House Bill 5928, now Public Act 17-160, to establish a manufacturer permit for farm breweries. This allows Connecticut farmers to manufacture, store, bottle, distribute and directly sell beer manufactured on their farm. Many Connecticut farms are beginning to produce hops, barley and other crop used to brew beer. Allowing them to use their crops to produce and sell beer will help farms further diversify their income, allowing them to grow and succeed, while continuing to be an important part of the “Connecticut Grown” movement.

Better Enforcing the Food Safety and Modernization Act
Senator Kennedy introduced and led passage of House Bill 6333, now Public Act 17-208. This law designates the Department of Agriculture (DoAg) as the lead energy for enforcement of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). DoAg’s strong connection to the farming community will help them ensure farmers adopt the most modern practices and procedures for ensuring food safety.

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