2021 CEQ Annual Report

Land Stewardship

Preserved Land               Forests              Wetlands


Climate Change Indicator

check x x summary image 

More agricultural land was preserved in 2021 than in 2020.


In 2021, Connecticut preserved 1,204 acres of agricultural land.23 This is approximately 190 more than the 1,015 acres preserved in 2020, but less than the previous 10-year annual average of 1,245 acres. The cumulative acreage preserved by the Connecticut Department of Agriculture (DoAg), which began preserving agricultural land by purchasing development rights in 1978,24 has increased slowly over the last 10 years. It is estimated that Connecticut’s farms operate on approximately 380,000 acres statewide.25 Through September 2021, approximately 12,000 parcels, with a total of approximately 234,000 acres of just farmland, were classified as “Public Act 490” land*.26

farmland preservation guage 2021 with title

In addition to the production of food and agricultural products, Connecticut’s farms have a role in mitigation, adaptation, and resiliency to the negative impacts of climate change. Well managed farms store carbon from the atmosphere in soils and plants, capture and store water from extreme precipitation events, and provide for bio-mass derived renewable energy. Soil is one of the sinks for atmospheric carbon, and one that can be managed to mitigate the effects of climate change.27

Council projections prepared in 2021 indicate that the goal of preserving 130,000 acres could be reached by 2050 at an annual preservation rate of approximately 2,850 acres per year as depicted in the gauge chart. However, using the average annual acquisition rate for the last ten years, it would take approximately 66 years to achieve the State’s farmland preservation goal. During that time, additional farmland can be expected to be lost to development.

From 1985 to 2015, it is estimated that Connecticut lost approximately 45,000 acres of “agricultural fields”,28 which represents a loss of approximately 16 percent. The rate of farmland loss may change as demand for locally produced food and agricultural products increases or as development pressure increases, such as electricity generation. As detailed in the solar photovoltaics indicator, there were a significant number of proposals for solar development that would convert agricultural land from agricultural use to power generation use in 2021**.

Goal: DoAG adopted a farmland preservation goal 130,000 acres in total.

Technical Note
: *Public Act 490 is Connecticut's law (Connecticut General Statutes (CGS) Sections 12-107a through 107-f) that allows farm, forest, or open space land to be assessed at its use value rather than its fair market or highest and best use value. **Based on proposals approved or pending by the Connecticut Siting Council in 2021. Some, if not all of the proposals on agricultural land included some type of agricultural co-use at the sites.


23 CT Dept. of Agriculture (DoAg); personal communication from C. Weimar, January 5, 2022.
24 DoAg, Farmland Preservation Program; portal.ct.gov/DOAG/ADaRC/ADaRC/Farmland-Preservation#overview
25 USDA, 2021 State Agricultural Overview; www.nass.usda.gov/Quick_Stats/Ag_Overview/stateOverview.php?state=CONNECTICUT.
26 DEEP, The Classification of Land as Forest Land (PA 490) website, accessed January 6, 2022; portal.ct.gov/DEEP/Forestry/Forest-Land-Taxation/Classification-of-Land-as-Forest-Land.
27 DEEP, GC3 Final Report: Working & Natural Lands Working Group - Agriculture/Soils Working Subgroup; portal.ct.gov/-/media/DEEP/climatechange/GC3/GC3-working-group-reports/GC3_WNL_Ag_Soils_Final_Report_111320.pdf
28 UConn, CLEAR, State Land Cover Statistics; clear.uconn.edu/projects/landscape/CT/stats.htm#top