Farmland Preservation Program
Agriculture is one of Connecticut's most vital economic sectors, and at its heart is the state's extraordinary farmland. The Department of Agriculture preserves working lands by acquiring development rights to agricultural properties through its Farmland Preservation Program, ensuring that the land remains available only for agricultural use in perpetuity.
The main objective of the program is to establish a food-and-fiber producing land resource base, consisting mainly of prime and important farmland soils, that will ensure local availability of fresh farm products and help agriculture to remain an important part of the state’s economy.
A permanent restriction on non-agricultural uses is placed on the deed to these properties, but the farms remain in private ownership and continue to pay local property taxes. The program is voluntary and gives farmers a realistic alternative to selling their land for residential development.
Applications are evaluated according to state regulation criteria, which recognize the benefits of clustering farms with a high percentage of prime farmland soils in active farm communities.
As of July 2019, the program has preserved more than 44,500 acres on 370 farms. The long-term goal is to preserve 130,000 acres.
- Preserving the best and most productive agricultural land.
- Providing an opportunity for farmers to purchase land at affordable prices.
- Helping farm owners overcome estate planning problems which often result in farmland loss.
- Providing working capital to enable farm operations to become more financially stable.
- Addressing other personal ownership problems, such as health and age, which contribute to the likelihood of land being converted to non-agricultural uses.
- Providing a range of community amenities including its curious blend of serenity and industry.
- Landowners may apply to the program voluntarily.
- A notice of application is filed with the town clerk of the town where the farm is located.
- The application is evaluated according to state regulation criteria. If the farm meets minimum scoring criteria, the Commissioner may accept the application.
- Configuration of the application and specifics of the easement are negotiated and agreed to by the land owner and Commissioner of Agriculture.
- The farm is appraised for the unrestricted market value and the market agricultural value, the difference between the two indicating the value of the development rights.
- The appraisals are reviewed with the land owner and the Commissioner may negotiate anywhere from a gift of, to the full value of the development rights.
- An agreement letter is presented from the Commissioner to the land owner representing the agreed upon price. The letter is reviewed and approved by the Attorney General.
- A detailed report is submitted to the State Properties Review Board for review and approval.
- Funds are requested for the acquisition, including funds for an A-2 survey, title insurance, and title search, from the State Bond Commission, Chaired by the Governor.
- Upon Bond Commission approval, the state obtains an A-2 survey and title search of the property. Upon completion, the conveyance of development rights deed is executed and a check for the development rights acquisition processed. After all the documents are approved by the Attorney General, a closing is held and the documents and maps are recorded in the local land records and with the deed with the Secretary of State.
For more information on the Farmland Preservation Program, please read our Do's and Don'ts Brochure - pdf, 2pgs.
Also available: Conservation Options for Connecticut Farmland - .pdf, 21 pgs.
Cameron Weimar, Director
Farmland Preservation Program
Connecticut Dept. of Agriculture
450 Columbus Boulevard
Hartford CT 06103
Fax: (860) 706-5714