Connecticut Farm Bureau names Cohen 2021 Legislator of the Year


HARTFORD – State Senator Christine Cohen (D-Guilford) has been named “Legislator of the Year 2021” by the Connecticut Farm Bureau for her work in passing legislation that allows for continuity and expansion of the state’s rich farming tradition and supports the small businesses that are our farms across Connecticut.

In addition to important updates to hemp-growing laws, ensuring the Community Investment Act maintains vital funding, and ramping up the farmers’ market nutrition program, Senator Cohen has spearheaded bills to allow implantation. on-farm anaerobic digesters – which turn animal wastes and food scraps into usable biogas – and which redefines “farmland” under state law to include underwater agricultural land used for ‘aquaculture, thereby reducing local property tax bills for farmers.

Senator Cohen is Chairman of the Senate of the Environment Committee, which is responsible for matters relating to energy, conservation, recreation, pollution control, fishing and game, parks and state forests, water resources and flood and erosion control, agriculture, dairy and domestic animals. .

The Connecticut Farm Bureau is the state’s largest and oldest farming organization, with more than 3,000 members statewide who champion agriculture and farmers and work to preserve rural Connecticut’s landscape.

Senator Cohen’s award was presented last week at the Connecticut Farm Bureau’s annual meeting, which took place online.

Christine Cohen is dedicated to improving farms and farming in Connecticut, as evidenced by her hard work to pass new laws that can make our farmlands more profitable and productive, and to bring in the healthy aquaculture industry of Canada. Connecticut into the 21st century with common sense. Change in the state’s definition of farmland to include offshore oyster beds and other underwater farms, ”said Joan Nichols, executive director of the Connecticut Farm Bureau “Connecticut farmers have a true champion in Senator Cohen, and we are proud to recognize her with this year’s Legislator of the Year award.

“Growing up in Connecticut and living near the shore, I truly appreciate not only the beauty of our farmlands here in Connecticut, but also the role agriculture plays in maintaining a clean and safe environment and for feed us, ”said Senator Cohen. “I am honored to have received the Connecticut Farm Bureau Legislator of the Year award. This is an organization whose advocacy for Connecticut agriculture I deeply admire, and together we’ve been able to pass many pieces of legislation this year to support Connecticut’s diversity. , a dynamic and constantly growing agricultural economy. They are a valued and tireless partner in legislative success, and I want to thank each of the members of the Connecticut Farm Bureau for their tireless support on behalf of the farming community. I look forward to continuing our work together. “

The Connecticut Farm Bureau cited two important legislative proposals that were decisive factors in presenting this year’s award to Senator Cohen. They were:

  • Senate Bill 930, “AN ACT RESPECTING THE MOVEMENT OF FOOD WASTE AND ANAEROBIC DIGESTION FACILITIES” and House Bill 6503, “AN ACT RESPECTING THE LOCATION OF ANAEROBIC DIGESTION FACILITIES ON FARMS”. These bills encourage the establishment and authorization of anaerobic digesters. In 2015 – the last time the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection conducted a statewide waste characterization study – food waste from homes and businesses nearly equaled paper waste as the highest percentage of all waste: 22.3% food waste versus 23.1% paper waste. There is twice as much food waste as plastic or construction debris in our garbage trucks, six times as much as metal and nine times as much as glass. Food waste is very heavy and missing from separation, incredibly expensive to transport. Food waste is the fastest growing segment of Connecticut’s solid waste stream, but it’s also the most waste that can be recycled. Additionally, we have cattle ranchers in Connecticut who are seeing a significant amount of methane being released as a result of manure production. Instead of releasing environmentally hazardous methane into our atmosphere, farmers can harness the gas and use it for energy production. Anaerobic digestion facilities can transform food and animal waste into methane-rich biogas, which can be used to generate heat, create electricity, or power vehicles.
  • Senate Bill 840, “AN ACT RESPECTING THE CONNECTICUT SHELL RESTORATION PROGRAM AND THE CONNECTICUT SEAFOOD COUNCIL,” which redefines the state’s definition of “farmland” to include sub-agricultural land. marine used for aquaculture. This would allow shellfish and seaweed producers to take advantage of Connecticut Public Act 490, passed in 1963, and have their underwater shellfish fishing grounds and “maritime heritage lands” valued. use ”, rather than their“ fair market value ”. , which would result in lower annual local property taxes. Connecticut’s shellfish industry has more than 70,000 acres in cultivation, generates more than $ 30 million in sales per year, and employs 300 jobs statewide. The bill will expand the shellfish restoration program and replenish the Connecticut Seafood Development Council to better promote Connecticut seafood and examine market opportunities.


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