By Dr. W.A. Cowan, Emeritus Professor
University of Connecticut
College of Agriculture and Natural Resources
Department of Animal Science
(partial reprint with permission)
It is later than usual for this 2003 report based largely on data from the New England Agricultural Statistics Service, a field office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service in Washington, D.C. Some of the data is for the years 2002, 2003 and 2004. I have indicated the data year in several places. The report was delayed because of adjustments made in the 2002 Census of Agriculture.

Most citizens, and even many in agriculture, are not aware of agriculture's diversity, scope and importance. It is dynamic, still evolving and changing from decade to decade and continues to make significant contributions to the life of Connecticut citizens. You sometimes hear one speak of "traditional agriculture". Individual enterprises and their practices change so much over time that the situation just a few years back no longer characterizes the scene. Traditional? Hardly! And the mix of enterprises changes, too.

Full-time farms are fewer but much larger. Part-time and lifestyle farms are growing and increasingly diverse. Science, technology, innovation, business and labor management, resource conservation, direct marketing, and value added products are reasons for viability and success.

Connecticut is a small state in New England of 4,872 square miles of land area. Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts are approximately 7, 2, 1.6 and 1.6 times that amount respectively. Connecticut has approximately 3.41 million people. Relative geographic size needs to be considered if production is to be compared from state to state.

Despite size differences, Agricultural income in Connecticut is surprising to many. Of the 6 New England states, Vermont was first in farm income, 1.3% higher than Connecticut. Connecticut was second with Maine third. Much of the information in what follows was developed from the 2003 reports of the Statistical Reporting Service of the United States Department of Agriculture. The Connecticut Department of Agriculture also served as a source of raw data. Their estimate listed Connecticut with approximately $900,000,000 income from agricultural production with appreciable additional impact on the state's economy. Big business! There are approximately 4,200 farms with 360,000 acres in Connecticut. Previously it was 3,900 and revised to 4,200 by the U.S.D.A.
  • Net Farm Income ('02)
  • Horse Number - (Garnet Study)
  • Mushroom Production
  • Peach and Pear Production ('03)
  • Tobacco Acreage and Production ('03)
  • Density of Egg Laying Poultry ('03)
  • Bedding and Garden Plant Income ($61 million) ('03)
  • Nursery and Greenhouse Sales ($197,570,000)
  • Per Acre Value Per Farm ($9,500)
  • Herbaceous Perennial Potted Plants ($25,585,000)
  • Hay per square mile
  • Aquaculture Production and Value
  • Farms per square mile
  • Corn Silage Production ('03)
  • Egg Production
  • Sweet Corn Production ($12,915,000) ('02)
  • Cattle and Calves: Income per square mile
  • Milk Production and Value per square mile
  • All Cattle per square mile
  • Cash Farm Income per square mile
  • Chickens Sold ('03)
  • Egg Production and Value ('03)
  • Other Livestock Income ('03)
  • Sweet Corn
  • Total Farm Marketing Income ('03)
  • Aquaculture Income ($17.6 million)
  • Beef Cows

  • Oysters - Value: Top 5
  • 1st in Density of Egg Laying Poultry
  • 1st in Density of Horses
  • 5th in Mushroom Production
  • 13th in Milk Production per Dairy Cow
  • 10th in Maple Syrup
  • 11th in Sales of Nursery Products

    SOME CONNECTICUT PRODUCTION FIGURES: (CT population 3.41 million people)
230 eggs per person per year - 238 glasses of milk produced in the state per year per person - 1 milk cow for every 162 people - 1 head of cattle for every 63 people - 1 horse for every 68 people - 6-7 pounds of apples per person per year - 3 pounds of sweet corn and 2 quarts of strawberries per person - 1 pumpkin produced for every 3 and 1 Christmas tree produced for every 8 residents - aquaculture, a $17,600,000 industry. There was $197,570,000 from nursery and greenhouse production in 2002, 42% of farm receipts. Bedding and garden plants were a $56,000,000 business.
Ornamental horticulture, Non-USDA Data. An outside, professional and detailed study of this industry reported in 2003 over half a billion dollars ($569 million) in direct Connecticut plant sales. Further sales on the market resulted in a grand total of $949 million.
There is 1 acre of forestland for every 2, and 1 acre of farmland for every 9 people. Sixty percent of the land area of Connecticut is in farmland, open space and forests. This represents an important natural resource base and enhancement of the environment.
In addition to full-time farms, part-time and diversified farming is of importance. Dairy and meat goats, rabbits, llamas, farm-produced pheasants, wine grapes, maple syrup, and honey are some of these enterprises. There were 15,000 head of beef cattle on 720, 5,550 sheep ('04) on 200 and 4,000 hogs on 150 farms according to the USDA.


Rank State Cash Receipts Major Source
 1  Vermont  $474.6 million   72% Milk
 2  Connecticut  $468.5 million  42% Greenhouse & Nursery
 3  Maine  $444.5 million  25% Potatoes
 4  Massachusetts  $380.2 million  34.9% Greenhouse & Nursery
 5  New Hampshire  $147.7 million   37.7% Greenhouse & Nursery
 6  Rhode Island  $ 46.1 million  66.3% Greenhouse & Nursery

*Includes only sales of the crops and animals reported to and determined by the USDA. Does not include sales of many sources of farm income not followed by the USDA such as income from sales of registered livestock, replacement animals, timber, rental or boarding fees, horse sales, landscape services, sod, custom work, etc.
Net income, total value of ag sector, amount from crops, amount from animals and revenue from services and forestry shown below are in millions of dollars.
Net Income Rank State Net Income Value Ag Sector From Crops From Animals From Services & Forestry
 1  CT  $114.1   541.0   314.2   150.7  76.0 
 2  VT   $105.8  563.2    81.0  396.3  85.8
 3  ME  $ 47.1   503.9  222.9  228.5  52.5
 4  MA  $ 32.9  459.8   296.0    82.3  81.5
 5  RI  $   5.6     55.2    39.9      6.5    6.8
 6  NH  $   5.4  173.2    90.3     56.2  26.8
Above crops, animals, services and forestry may not add to Ag Sector Total because of rounding.
**Source: Economic Research Service, USDA reported by New England Agricultural Statistics Service of the USDA. Net Farm Income was determined by deducting all costs and adjustments from Total Ag Sector Output (Income).
Much of the land and water resource is in farms and forests. That adds to the beauty of the state and makes it a better environment in which to live, work and play. Moreover, several studies have indicated that taxpayers benefit because when there is extensive residental development in a town, costs are usually more than the income they are from. Costs to resident taxpayers are relatively very low, however, when the land stays in farms, forests and open space and is taxed on its current use value.
TOTAL ESTIMATED EMPLOYMENT: 50,000 in production, service, processing, quality control and marketing.