NORWICH – – Paul Miller, who owns a 600-cow dairy farm in Woodstock, has seen his grain and fertilizer costs double over recent months.

Tim Slate of Kahn Tractor & Equipment in North Franklin is watching raises he gives his workers offset by increasing health care costs.

Robin Chesmer, a Lebanon dairy farmer, paid $7,700 for grain this year, up from $5,400 last year.

The three were among a number of farmers and other agricultural business owners and officials who attended a roundtable discussion Wednesday morning at the district office of U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District. Courtney was joined by fellow U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-3rd District, and they spent much of the time talking about a newly approved farm bill and listening to concerns of farmers.

“People often say, ‘DeLauro is from New Haven. What the hell does she know about farming?’ But I’m learning,” said DeLauro. .

The $300 billion farm bill, expected to be signed into law next week, includes monetary aid for farmers and funding for land conservation. It also contains energy provisions for biofuels and aid for nutrition programs like organic agriculture and healthy food programs in schools and in the home.

“We’ve lost 40 dairy farms [in Connecticut] in the last five years,” said DeLauro, who is chair of the House Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration Appropriations Subcommittee. “There’s not one silver bullet out there for all the problems. This is about giving our farmers a fighting chance as they face rising energy and production costs – helping farmers to thrive.”

Full Story: http://www.courant.com/news/local/ec/hc-ctfarmers0529.artmay29,0,7712794.story