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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Farmer Steve Munno from Massaro Farm Travels to Washington, D.C.

Steve Munno, farm manager at Massaro Farm in Woodbridge, recently travelled to the nation's capitol to meet with Congressional leaders to show his support for small farm and sustainable agriculture federal programs, according to a statement.
Munno was joined by more than 30 farmers, ranchers and conservationists from around the country, an effort spearheaded by the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.  
 Massaro Farm was recently awarded funding through Environmental Quality Incentives Program.  This award shares the cost of fencing to keep deer out, a high tunnel to extend the growing season, planting native species to prevent erosion, provide wind breaks and attract beneficial insects essential for pollination, the statement said. 
 "We are lucky to have received this grant before funding for the program disappears. With the current proposed cuts, there might not be any funds available next year," Munno said in the statement.
 "Recent proposed budget cuts have focused on programs that protect the environment, increase economic opportunity, serve beginning and minority farmers, and ensure proper nutrition for low-income families," the statement said. "In addition to EQIP, the programs facing cuts or complete elimination include: the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service (ATTRA), Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE), Value-Added Producer Grants (VAPG), and Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP)."

Munno met with U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-3, and her staff, as well as members of U.S. rpe. Joe Courtney's staff and Senator Ricahrd Blumenthal's team.  "The message Munno brought was clear: The federal programs for small farms and sustainable agriculture have had a tremendously positive impact on Massaro Farm, farms" in Connecticut, and farms across the country. 
Munno said, also in the statement, "The support we've had through these programs has allowed us to make improvements to our farm that otherwise would not have been possible.  With these improvements, we're able to provide more food to our community and operate more sustainably."

"We're extremely fortunate in Connecticut to have representatives in Congress who understand the importance of agriculture to communities throughout the state.  I feel confident that Representatives DeLauro and Courtney, along with Senator Blumenthal, will work hard to protect farms and programs like EQIP that can be so beneficial" Munno said.  "I was not able to meet with anyone from Lieberman's staff, however I intend to have some dialogue with them about these serious issues in the near future."

 "Massaro Community Farm is non profit farm on a 57 acres parcel of land in Woodbridge, Connecticut. Our mission is to preserve the farm for growing food, to feed those in need, and to educate our community about sustainable agriculture, enhancing the quality of life for generations, the statement said.

 Editor's note: All information in this post was contributed.


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