While Gov. M. Jodi Rell is playing some of her veto cards close to her chest, she said she will enthusiastically endorse a bill intended to help save the state’s dairy industry.
The General Assembly approved a grant program for dairy farms struggling to cover their production costs and Rell said Wednesday that she would sign it. The grant program will be created by a $10 increase in the current $30 filing fee for local land records.
“This issue is about saving an important part of Connecticut’s economy and cultural heritage,” Rell said in a press release. “We have lost far too many dairy farms in recent years to high production costs and development pressure.”
Under government mandated wholesale milk prices, Connecticut dairy farmers are losing nearly $1 for every gallon of milk that they sell. Because of this financial hardship, the state has lost 15 dairy farms in the last year as farmers struggle to pay bills while losing money on their milk sales.
Connecticut currently has 151 dairy farms and according to a recent study by the University of Connecticut the dairy industry in contributes nearly $1.1 billion to the state’s economy and employs over 4,000 people.
“This is great news for our family and other farmers around the state that are having difficulty making ends meet due to record low milk prices,” Melissa Greenbacker of Greenbacker Farm in Durham, said.
Melissa’s cow Daisy was the face of the dairy community’s lobbying efforts on the bill.
“While I’m sure that this legislation won’t cover everyone’s losses, it will certainly help stop the hemorrhaging. And I’m sure that Daisy will be happy when I tell her,” Greenbacker said.