2023 CEQ Annual Report

Land Stewardship

Preserved Land               Forests              Wetlands


Climate Change Indicator

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More agricultural land was preserved in 2023 than last year and the previous ten-year average.

In 2023, Connecticut preserved 1,559 acres of agricultural land, which was approximately 33 percent greater than the previous ten-year average of 1,172 acres. The number of farmland properties preserved in 2023 was 23, the average acreage per farmland property was 68, and the average cost per acre was $5,698, which was 13 percent greater than the average cost per acre for the previous three-year period (2020-2022).28

The cumulative acreage preserved by the Connecticut Department of Agriculture (DoAg), which began preserving agricultural land by purchasing development rights in 1978, has increased slowly and now totals approximately 49,600 acres. Council projections prepared in 2023 indicate that it would take approximately 66 years to achieve the state’s farmland preservation goal of 130,000 acres, based on the average annual acquisition rate for the last ten years (1,211), including 2023. During that time, additional farmland can be expected to be lost to development.

In addition to the production of food and agricultural products, Connecticut’s farms have a role in mitigation of, adaptation to, and resiliency from 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.29

The total land area in farms in Connecticut for 2022 was estimated at 380,000 acres (most recent data available), which was unchanged from 2021 data. In 1982, the total land in farms in Connecticut was reported to be approximately 444,200 acres, a loss of approximately 64,000 acres or 14.5 percent.30 The rate of farmland loss may change as demand for locally produced food and agricultural products increases or as development pressure increases, such as for electricity generation. As detailed in the solar photovoltaics indicator, there are provisions for the DoAg to review certain solar proposals* on agricultural land and determine if such development would “materially affect” the status of such land as prime farmland. 

Goal: The Connecticut Farmland Preservation Program aims to protect 130,000 acres of Connecticut’s most productive farmland.

Technical Note: *Some of the proposals on agricultural land included some type of agricultural co-use activities at the sites. The potential agricultural viability of the co-use activities is unknown. 



28 Connecticut Department of Agriculture (DoAg), Connecticut Farmland Preservation Programs Report, January 2024; personal communication from C. Weimar, January 4, 2024.
29 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#page=5.

30 United States Department of agriculture, Census of Agriculture Historical Archive, Connecticut 1982; agcensus.library.cornell.edu/wp-content/uploads/1982-Connecticut-CHAPTER_1_State_Data-121-Table-01.pdf.