Preserved Land                Forests
Farmland                To Get Back On Track

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Rate of Preservation

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Preservation: In 2018, Connecticut preserved 1,378 acres of agricultural land on 15 farms. This is less than the 1,850 acres preserved in 2017.


Farmland loss slowed considerably after 2006.
The top chart shows the cumulative acreage preserved by the Connecticut Department of Agriculture, which began preserving land by purchasing development rights in 1978. In 2011, the Department launched the Community Farms Preservation Program for farms that do not meet all eligibility requirements of the longstanding farmland preservation program but are nonetheless worthy of preservation. The acreage figures since 2014 include both programs. State bonding, the Community Investment Act and federal funds are the main sources of funding. 

The bottom chart presents an estimate of the total area of land used for crops and pasture in Connecticut, developed by the Center for Land Use Education and Research (CLEAR) at the University of Connecticut using satellite-derived data. It shows that less farmland was lost to development between 2006 and 2015 than in prior periods, presumably because of the downturn in real estate development associated with the recessionary economy.

The top chart does not show agricultural land acquired for preservation by municipalities and nonprofit organizations. Several towns purchased farms in recent years with no state assistance, and those acres are not reported or recorded at the state level. Along with a central registry of preserved open space, Connecticut needs a registry of preserved farmland to help state agencies and other organizations preserve land strategically.
The Source of the Goal
The Connecticut Department of Agriculture adopted a farmland preservation goal -- 130,000 acres in total, with at least 85,000 acres in cropland -- that originally was based on the amount of land needed for food production to sustain Connecticut's population.

Council projections prepared in 2019 indicate that the goal of preserving 130,000 acres could be reached by 2050 at an annual preservation rate of approximately 3,750 acres per year, if the rate of farmland loss continues as it has for the past 30 years. Since 2014, farmland preservation has progressed at approximately 40 percent of the needed rate (acres/year). Please see the To Get Back on Track page for more information.
Technical Notes:

1) The analysts at CLEAR made slight revisions to all years' data in 2015, and the chart above was modified accordingly.