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Connecticut Residents Asked to Report Receipt of any Unsolicited Packages of Seeds
(HARTFORD, CT) – The Connecticut Department of Agriculture (CT DoAg) and The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) have been notified that several Connecticut residents have received unsolicited packages containing seeds that appear to have originated from China. The types of seeds in the packages are unknown at this time and may be invasive plant species. The packages were sent by mail and may have Chinese writing on them. Unsolicited packages of seeds have been received by people in several other states across the United States over the last several days.
Beloved Watertown Farm is Protected Forever
The Connecticut Department of Agriculture (CT DoAg) in coordination with Connecticut Farmland Trust (CFT) is pleased to announce the preservation of Gustafson Farm in Watertown. The farm has been a popular destination for area families since 1907. The preservation of Gustafson Farm was a complex feat of partnership and teamwork involving USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Housatonic Valley Association, CT DoAg and CFT, in the farm’s preservation. For many families, the idea of conserving their land is like a seed – it takes many years to mature. For the Gustafson family, the seed was planted over a decade ago by the past generation of Gustafsons, who knew their 301-acre orchard and beef farm was something special that they wanted to preserve. That seed has finally come to fruition with the work of their descendants: cousins Katie Barnosky, Frank Gustafson, III, and Kristie Weidemier.
Survey Underway to Assess Availability of Food Storage and Meal Preparation Sites in Connecticut
HARTFORD, CT – The Connecticut Department of Agriculture, in partnership with other state and local agencies, is surveying various entities on their willingness to collaborate with local emergency food distribution agencies (e.g.; local food pantry) who are seeking additional food storage space and meal preparation services for home-bound individuals and families.
Connecticut Department of Agriculture Awards Farm Transition Grants
HARTFORD, CT – Agriculture Commissioner Bryan P. Hurlburt announces that the Connecticut Department of Agriculture has awarded 16 grants totaling $547,784.41 to strengthen the economic viability of Connecticut farmers and agricultural cooperatives seeking to expand, diversify, and improve their existing operation.
CT Farmers Impacted by COVID 19 Eligible for Coronavirus Food Assistance Program
HARTFORD, CT – Governor Ned Lamont, Congressman Joe Courtney, and Agriculture Commissioner Bryan P. Hurlburt are encouraging Connecticut farmers and producers to sign up to receive financial assistance through the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Coronavirus Food Assistance program (CFAP), which was authorized by Congress through the bipartisan Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (H.R. 748). Earlier this week U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue released additional details on CFAP which will provide up to $16 billion in direct payments to deliver relief to America’s farmers and ranchers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Supporting the Shellfish Industry During the COVID 19 Pandemic
(HARTFORD, CT) - The Connecticut Department of Agriculture is collaborating with state and federal partners on the development of a phased response to support shellfish farmers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The innovative program will enable shellfish farmers to contribute to the rehabilitation of the state’s natural shellfish beds, and to receive compensation for their work, which will occur in two distinct phases. This work highlights the importance of the partnership between the Department and Connecticut Sea Grant to provide assistance to the industry during a critical time.
Connecticut's dairy farm families provide support to ensure access to milk and dairy products in Connecticut
(HARTFORD, CT) – Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz and Department of Agriculture Commissioner Bryan P. Hurlburt today joined Jason Jakubowski, President and CEO of Foodshare, and Paul Shipman, spokesperson of Connecticut Food Bank, to present a donation totaling $40,000 on behalf of Connecticut’s dairy farm families to ensure that milk and dairy products are available to food insecure households. In addition to the financial support, Dairy Farmers of America, Guida’s Dairy, and Cabot Creamery Cooperative have committed to donating dairy products to be distributed through Connecticut’s food bank networks.
DoAg Facilitates Continuation of Farmers Market and Shellfish Sales during COVID 19
HARTFORD, CT – The Connecticut Department Agriculture (DoAg) has released guidance documents to facilitate the continuation of farmers’ markets and shellfish sales during the COVID-19 crisis. Per Governor Lamont’s Executive Order 7H, and 7S and DECD’s guidance on essential services and Safe Stores, food and agriculture, including aquaculture, as well as, farmers’ markets and farm stands are deemed essential. The guidance documents contain practices and protocols to be implemented as necessary in an effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 while providing access to supply of local, fresh food.
COVID-19 Guidance for Horseback Riding Schools Stables and Boarding Stables
HARTFORD, CT – In addition to implementing the Stay Home, Stay Safe protocols effective on March 23, 2020 at 8:00 p.m. through April 22, 2020; Governor Lamont’s Executive Order 7H required the Department of Economic and Community Development to provide a guidance document to determine essential businesses.
CONNECTICUT DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE EXECUTIVE ORDER 7H ESSENTIAL BUSINESSES
(HARTFORD, CT) – On March 20, 2020, The Governor issued Executive Order 7H, directing all businesses and nonprofit entities in the State of Connecticut to utilize, to the maximum extent possible, any telecommuting or work from home procedures that they can safely employ. That order also directed that, no later than March 23, 2020 at 8 p.m., each non-essential business or nonprofit entity (and therefore not including or applicable to any state or local government agencies, quasi-public agencies, political subdivisions or other entities that do not constitute businesses or nonprofits) shall reduce the in-person workforce at each business location by 100% from pre-state of emergency declaration employment levels. Executive Order 7H authorized the Commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development (“DECD”) to provide legally binding guidance about which businesses are essential.
Connecticut Farmers Markets and Farm Stands OPEN
(HARTFORD, CT) – Connecticut residents seeking fresh, local foods are advised that farm stands and farmers’ markets remain open for business. As the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve, the Connecticut Department of Agriculture has worked with Governor Lamont’s office to clarify that these entities are not currently affected by the Executive Order.
Legislative Update March 11 2020
It has now been one month since opening day and the legislative process is moving full steam ahead. Over the last several weeks, committees have passed their raised bill deadlines and have begun soliciting public input on a variety of important pieces of legislation. In the short period following a public hearing, a bill can be amended – clarifying data, amending sections, and responding to testimony that was submitted to the committee.
Connecticut's Green Industry Is Growing
(HARTFORD, CT) – Last month members of the green industry, comprised of wholesale and retail nursery, greenhouse, turfgrass and sod producers; landscape architecture, design, construction, and maintenance firms; and distributors of lawn and garden products at wholesale and retail, gathered in the Legislative Office Building to announce the findings of the report by UConn’s College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources Zwick Center for Food and Resource Policy, Economic Impacts of the Connecticut Green Industry in 2017.
Maple Sugaring Season Kicks Off
Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz and Department of Agriculture Commissioner Bryan P. Hurlburt joined Rob Lamothe, owner of Lamothe’s Sugar House in Burlington, on Friday, February 14 to participate in a ceremonial maple tapping in celebration of Connecticut’s “sweetest” time of the year, the start of maple sugaring season.
Connecticut Representatives Vote to Pass Farm Workforce Modernization Act
On December 11, 2019, Connecticut’s representatives to the U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass the Farm Workforce Modernization Act (H.R. 5038), a bipartisan bill that seeks to address the growing labor crisis in the agriculture industry by creating a new pathway to legal status for undocumented citizens working in the U.S. agriculture industry.