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 two programs, ensuring that the land remains available only for agricultural use in perpetuity: the Farmland Preservation Program (FPP) and the Community Farms Preservation Program.
The main objective of the programs 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 programs are voluntary and give 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 February 2020, the programs have preserved more than 45,300 acres on 373 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.