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September 30, 2021

Lamont directs close to $10M in federal aid to dairy, aquaculture sectors

Photo | WILLIE DELLACAMERA Fierce storms followed by Tropical Storm Elsa flooded the fields at Cecarelli Farm in North Branford and ruined the corn crop.

Gov. Ned Lamont is directing nearly $10 million in federal coronavirus aid to the state’s dairy and aquaculture industries, sectors he said have been especially hurt by pandemic-related market disruptions.

“Our farmers and their teams are essential workers who played a critical role in getting Connecticut through the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Lamont said in a statement. “I am grateful for their dedication to ensuring that our residents have access to clean, healthy food. This investment will help keep these incredibly important businesses afloat and keep Connecticut families fed.”

Additional funds will be used to address food insecurity issues, according to state officials, including through the purchase of Connecticut-grown products for drive-through food distribution centers. Availability of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits — also known as SNAP — for use at farmers markets will also be extended.

Lamont’s administration had previously set aside $1.45 million for various farming and food access programs, including educational collaborations between farms and public schools, supplemental food benefits for women, children and infants and Foodshare’s drive-through distribution work. That money is expected to keep Foodshare distribution open through at least the end of October.

The pandemic has exacerbated serious challenges already facing the state’s dairy industry, including a decline in demand for milk, according to a recent report from the University of Connecticut. Farms in general have also had to cope with COVID-related market disruptions and fluctuations in commodity pricing, in addition to increasingly unpredictable and damaging weather events.

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