March 17, 2023
Washington. D.C. – U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Angus King (I-ME), and Chris Murphy (D-CT) introduced bipartisan legislation to reauthorize and improve the Partnership for Risk Management Education and the Agricultural Management Assistance (AMA) programs, which help farmers manage financial risk through diversification, marketing, or conservation practices. The Agriculture Management Assistance Act would boost funding for the AMA to $30 million, increase funding limits for farmers to $200,000 over five years, and expand the eligible uses for these funds to include: soil health improvements, composting, implementing organic farming, developing value-added processing, and food safety certification in addition to existing authorized uses such as water management structure and soil erosion control.
The AMA is only available to 16 states—including Maine—that have historically low rates of participation in the Federal Crop Insurance Program.
“When it comes to agriculture and unpredictable weather patterns, diversification is the key to resiliency,” said Senator Collins. “From improving irrigation systems to implementing conservation measures to encouraging value-added processing, our bipartisan legislation would make investments that support farms for the long term. In addition to helping farmers reduce financial risk, investments in these types of projects would also help strengthen rural economies and improve food security.”
“Maine farmers work hard to produce healthy crops that will support their families and put food on the table for all our communities,” said Senator King. “The Agricultural Management Assistance Act would build on the successful AMA program to help our state’s farmers get more federal funding for the important water management and irrigation infrastructure that makes their life-nourishing work possible. This will mean future-proofing farms so they can better withstand erosion, pests, and threats from a changing climate through a program that is tailored for states like Maine with smaller diversified agriculture. I’m grateful for the partnership of Senator Collins and for her continued support of our small farming communities.”
“The Maine Potato Board is very supportive of these changes to the AMA program, which will increase resources to support Maine’s potato industry and agriculture,” said Donald Flannery, Executive Director of the Maine Potato Board. “We appreciate Senators Collins and King’s strong support of Maine agriculture.”
Full text of the bill is available here.