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N.H. House Passes $2 Million In Funding For Dairy Farmer Drought Relief

Hannah McCarthy/NHPR

The New Hampshire House voted Thursday to distribute $2 million dollars to dairy farmers hurt by last year’s drought.

After nearly an hour of debate, two-thirds of the house voted in favor of a relief fund for struggling dairy farmers across the state. Opponents of the bill argued that agriculture suffered statewide from the drought, and that singling out dairy farmers gives unfair preference to the industry.

Representative John O’Connor, who chairs the Environment and Agriculture Committee, urged the House to instead recognize why his committee arrived at a unanimous vote in favor of the bill.

"This natural disaster was totally out of their control. Will this aid make them whole? By no means. What will it do? Help sustain them through the remaining months and winter ‘til the spring crops come in," Representative O'Connor argued.

"By not supporting this bill, we will have a severe impact on the future of the dairy industry and also impact the state."

The bill will now go to the senate for a vote, with an amendment limiting state aid for farmers who have already received disaster relief funds from the federal government.

Hannah McCarthy first came to NHPR an intern in 2015, returned as a Fellow the following year and then bounced around as a reporter and producer before landing as co-host of Civics 101. She has reported on everything from the opioid epidemic to State House politics to haunted woods of New Hampshire.
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