Five New England Farmers Union members attended the 2015 National Farmers Union Legislative Fly-In last week, and three of the attendees are dairy farmers.

Dairy farmers Chelsea Kruse, Allison Bates, and Mary Castonguay in front of the U.S. Capitol.
Dairy farmers and NEFU members Chelsea Kruse, Allison Bates, and Mary Castonguay in front of the U.S. Capitol.

Mary Castonguay milks Ayrshires in Maine; Allie Bates works on her family’s dairy farm and makes goat cheese, also in Maine. Both Castonguay and Bates are members of the Organic Valley dairy co-op. Chelsea Kruse, a dairy farmer from New Hampshire, works at Echo Farm Puddings, a certified-humane dairy in Hinsdale, and is a member of the NFU Beginning Farmer Institute class of 2015. Roger Noonan, president of New England Farmers Union and a farmer in New Boston, N.H., met with key policy makers. Jody Kenworthy, a policy associate studying Agriculture, Food, and the Environment in the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University also attended. Kenworthy also spent five years working at the oldest organic farm in Maryland, growing fruits and vegetables, and raising beef cattle.

During the three-day gathering, the group heard briefings from national leaders in agriculture, including U.S. Department of Agriculture Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden, and met with the following Members of Congress or their staff:

  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren, MA
  • Sen. Ed Markey, MA
  • Sen. Chris Murphy, CT
  • Rep. Frank Guinta, NH
  • Rep. Richard Neal, MA
  • Rep. Peter Welch, VT
  • Rep. Seth Moulton, MA
  • Rep. Jim McGovern, MA
  • Rep. Annie Kuster, MA
  • Rep. Katherine Clark, MA
  • Rep. Michael Capuano, MA

Meeting with farmers helps our representatives understand how policies they set impact New England producers on the ground and helps develop relationships for future action. The group also presented nine New England Members of Congress with the National Farmers Union Golden Triangle, the highest honor bestowed on a national legislator for work on behalf of family agriculture.


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