Farmland Preservation Program Reaches Milestone
(HARTFORD, CT) – The Connecticut Department of Agriculture (CT DoAg) celebrates the success of the Farmland Preservation Program, which permanently protected 13 farms and more than 1,000 acres in 2020. This accomplishment was possible through strong partnerships with Connecticut Farmland Trust, USDA-NRCS, municipalities, land trusts, and most importantly, the farm families willing to engage in the program.
“It is especially remarkable to surpass the 1,000-acre milestone in 2020 amid all of the challenges that the year presented,” said Bryan P. Hurlburt, Agriculture Commissioner. “Last year reaffirmed the importance of a diverse and abundant food supply and by purchasing the development rights we not only ensure the land base for future generations to farm but a stable food chain for Connecticut residents.”
Farms were protected in the towns of Lisbon, Woodbury, Watertown, Voluntown, Middletown, Roxbury, Lebanon, Southington, and Thompson. The State of Connecticut achieved an overall 47% cost-share match receiving $2.2 million in USDA ALE funds and $487,900 from local partners.
Connecticut’s agricultural industry generates an economic impact of $4.0 billion to the state’s economy. Securing working farmland is important to sustaining the agricultural systems currently in place and ensuring availability of farmland for young and beginning farmers in the future. This is especially important as the average age of Connecticut farmers continues to rise.
“The Farmland Preservation team preserved more farms and acres in 2020, the most tumultuous and challenging year in recent history, than in the previous year,” said Jaime L. Smith, Bureau Director. “We are excited to continue this work and progress into 2021. This program leverages a significant amount of dollars from our federal, non-profit, and municipal partners to preserve this precious, limited, natural resource in perpetuity.”
Connecticut Department of Agriculture’s Farmland Preservation Program was established in 1978 to protect the prime and important farmland soils in the state in order to maintain and preserve agricultural land for the future. In 2012, the Community Farms Preservation Program was established to offer food-producing farms with local community support an avenue to permanently protect their farmland from future development. To date, the state has purchased development rights on 386 farms encompassing over 46,142 acres, with a goal of protecting 130,000 acres.