Monday, November 19, 2018
 U.S. Senator Murphy Introduces New Bill Supporting Cheese Producers  

This week, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) introduced new legislation to increase federal support and resources for small cheese producers in Connecticut and across the United States. Murphy’s Local Cheese Promotion and Dairy Support Act will strengthen local dairy supply chains by creating a new $5 million grant program to help small cheese producers grow their businesses. To support local agricultural systems, preference will be given to cheese producers who produce their own raw material (primarily milk), or purchase raw material from farms within their state. The legislation will also support regional and national cheese-making resource centers where experienced cheesemakers, financers, and other experts will be available to help beginning cheesemakers.

“Cheesemakers like Rustling Wind Creamery in Falls Village and Cato Corner in Colchester are becoming increasingly valuable parts of the United States’ $177 billion farming sector. They’re creating good jobs, worldwide brands, and award-winning cheeses,” said Murphy. “But for new and small cheesemakers, it can be particularly challenging to get the equipment and training they need to launch their businesses. My Local Cheese Promotion and Dairy Support Act will level the playing field and help small producers get the support and capital they need to grow their business, all while putting local farms first.”

“We are delighted that the Local Cheese Promotion and Dairy Support Act recognizes the value of artisan cheesemakers and supports them through education, regional resource centers, and funding for infrastructure,” says Nora Weiser, Executive Director of the American Cheese Society. “These producers are revitalizing rural economies and communities through their commitment to their land, animals, and cheese as a value-added dairy product.”

In Connecticut, artisanal cheese is a growing part of the state’s dairy sector and value-added agricultural economy. Connecticut’s dairy producers contribute nearly $1.3 billion and 4,286 jobs to the state annually. However, small cheesemakers in Connecticut often face thin profit margins and long working hours, making it difficult for them to grow their businesses and plan for the future.

Murphy’s Local Cheese Promotion and Dairy Support Act will give entrepreneurial cheese producers the assurances and safety net they need to expand and grow. The Local Cheese Promotion and Dairy Support Act will provide grants that small cheesemakers can apply for to assist with purchasing equipment, renovating or repairing production facilities, developing business plans, marketing products, and paying for financial literacy or food safety trainings. The bill will also set aside 10% of funding to allow land grant universities, experienced producers, and nonprofit organizations to establish cheese making resource centers and to provide assistance to new producers.

Source: Eastern Courier (CT)

Posted on Thursday, April 28, 2016 (Archive on Thursday, May 05, 2016)
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