Congresswoman Pingree Leads Push for Seafood Focused Priorities in Next Farm Bill

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Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-ME) at an Event in Portland Last Year..

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D) today led 35 bipartisana members of Congress in a letter to Agriculture Committee leaders urging the establshment of an office of Seafood Policy and Program Integration of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Committee leaders urging the establishment of an office of Seafood Poicy and Program Integration of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) support for seafood procurement from small and midsize seafood businesses across USDA nutrition programs and the extension of eligibility for certain USDA grants and loans to US seafood processors, including commercial fishermen.

The letter’s authors, who repreent a range of seafood harvesters, processors and businesses, are pushing for their priorities to be included in the next Farm Bill.  The members of Congress wrote:  “This industry provides remarkably diverse and healthy products for seafood markets at home and around the world, collectively generating more than $150 billion in annual sales, supporting 1.1 million jobs, and contributing to coastal economies and cultural traditions.  Federal programs administered by the USDA present valuable opportunities to help American seafood producers, who face many of the same challenges as American farmers and ranchers.  Like other food producers, the US seafood sector has been chronically disadvantaged domestically and abroad due to challenges such as impacts from  changing environmental conditions, inability to compete in markets, incresing costs and supply chain vulnerabilities.”

“Providing FCS the authority to lend to fishing-related businesses will help to ensure that fishing communities have the same access to support as our farmers, ranchers and loggers.”

“This is no April Fools Day joke,” said this blogger.  “Access to the same programs that other food producers enjoy seems only logical for members of Maine’s fishing communities.”

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