PHOTOS: Mainers Turnout for Pingree’s Farm Bill Listening Session with US House Agriculture Committee in Midcoast Maine
During the listening session, Maine’s 1st District Congresswoman showcased the Pine Tree State’s unique agriculture landscape and rural development needs as the Committee ramps up Farm Bill negotiations.?
FREEPORT, Maine, July 31, 2023
Tags: Food and Agriculture
With Congress in the process of crafting a five-year legislative package to support American agriculture, nutrition, and rural development, U.S. Representative Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) hosted House Agriculture Committee Chair Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-Pa.) and her fellow Committee members in Midcoast Maine for a listening session on the next Farm Bill. Pingree, Chair Thompson, and bipartisan members of the Committee visited three Maine farms before convening a listening session at the Freeport Performing Arts Center. Joining Pingree and Chair Thompson were fellow Agriculture Committee members Jim Baird (R-Ind.), Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), Jim Costa (D-Calif.), and various food and agriculture stakeholders from throughout Maine.
“The Farm Bill is a significant, once-in-five-years opportunity for Congress to support our farmers, create a more sustainable food system, and uplift our rural communities. To create a Farm Bill that meets the wide-ranging needs of our farmers and agricultural industries, it’s critical their voices are heard—and these listening sessions give them that platform,” said Pingree, a longtime farmer, herself. “I was especially honored to host Chair Thompson and my Agriculture Committee colleagues in Maine, where we got to tour local farms and hear directly from members of our rural and agricultural communities about the challenges they are facing. As we heard today, from wild blueberries to potatoes to dairy, to organic fruits and vegetables, and fresh cut flowers, Maine has a unique and diverse agriculture industry. Farmers reinforced that climate change and ‘forever chemical’ contamination are deeply impacting Maine’s agriculture industry. Nutrition access is top of mind for Mainers across the state. In addition, local producers and consumers need better access to infrastructure and local, nutritious foods. These issues align with my Farm Bill goals, and I will take the many stories and suggestions we heard today back to Washington as we ramp-up Farm Bill negotiations. I hope my fellow committee members here today do as well.”
“This Farm Bill will be guided by the voices of our nation’s producers and consumers,” Chair Thompson said. “I'd like to thank Rep. Pingree for hosting today's listening session in Maine – providing an opportunity to hear key feedback.”
The Farm Bill is a legislative package passed roughly every five years that has a tremendous impact on rural communities, food security, farmers’ livelihoods, and how our food is grown. From crop insurance to support for sustainable farming practices, the Farm Bill is how the federal government shapes our food and agriculture systems.
The Farm Bill is not legislation exclusively about farming. The Farm Bill has 12 separate sections or “titles'' governing a wide swath of policy areas ranging from broadband to food access and farm financing. Learn more about the Farm Bill and Pingree’s priorities here.
Listening sessions are an integral part of the Farm Bill reauthorization process. So far this Congress, the Committee has held events in Pennsylvania, Oregon, Florida, New York, Texas, and California.
In Congress, Pingree has distinguished herself as a successful advocate for reforming food policies to help consumers access healthier food and to support organic and sustainable agriculture. She served on the House Committee on Agriculture from 2009-2012 before taking a seat on the powerful Appropriations Committee. For the 117th and 118th Congresses, Pingree was granted a waiver to serve on both committees.
As a member of both the House Agriculture Committee and House Appropriations Agriculture Subcommittee, Pingree continues to be a vocal advocate for agriculture and food policy reform. Because of her leadership, the 2018 Farm Bill more than doubled funding for organic research, created the first federal produce prescription program, and created the local agriculture market program with permanent federal funding.
In addition to the Agriculture Committee, Pingree is continuing to serve on House Appropriations Committee this Congress, and is the Ranking Member of the Appropriations Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Subcommittee, which she chaired in the 117th Congress.