- Associated Press - Saturday, May 7, 2016

BOSTON (AP) - The Massachusetts Senate has approved a sweeping bill aimed at promoting the state’s agricultural sector, including allowing the distribution of raw milk.

Supporters say the bill provides opportunities for Massachusetts farmers, increases the availability of locally grown food and invests in educational and agricultural programs to encourage growth in the industry.

Under the bill, Massachusetts would join sixteen other states, including Connecticut, Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire, in allowing the distribution of raw milk.

There are more than 7,700 farms in Massachusetts working over 520,000 acres to produce $492 million in agricultural products. Massachusetts farms also employ nearly 28,000 workers. The vast majority of Massachusetts farms, about 80 percent, are family owned.

The bill now heads to the House.

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