(HARTFORD, CT) — Gov. Dannel P. Malloy made the following statement in reaction to preliminary 2012 Census of Agriculture data released recently by U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack at the Agricultural Outlook Forum in Arlington, Va:
“I am pleased—but not surprised—by these results showing Connecticut’s 22 percent increase in number of farms over the last five years is the highest in New England. Despite an overall decline in farm numbers nationally, Connecticut has made great strides in this area. The figures released by USDA today confirm that the work that I have done with Commissioner Reviczky, his team at the Connecticut Department of Agriculture, and the Governor’s Council for Agricultural Development to build a long-range, strategic pathway to grow Connecticut farms is working.
“I am also pleased to see that land in farms here in Connecticut has increased by eight percent, and I expect that trend to continue as additional land is brought into production through the Farmland Restoration Program I initiated two years ago.
“Agriculture is a significant industry in our state. Estimates based on USDA’s 2007 Census showed agriculture contributes $3.5 billion to Connecticut’s economy and provides nearly 28,000 jobs. These numbers clearly are on the rise. Agriculture also provides fresh, nutritious food and beautiful working landscapes for our residents and visitors. On top of that, farms have been shown to use less than they pay into municipal services, so they reduce property taxes.
“Not long ago, people in this state were worried about farms disappearing in Connecticut. We have come a long way in a few short years. I remain committed to the growth of this industry and to the hard working farm families of Connecticut, as does Commissioner Reviczky and his team. We have helped agriculture turn the curve in this state, and I look forward to doing more to keep it growing.”
Connecticut’s Farmland Restoration Program was proposed by Malloy and established through legislation passed by the Connecticut General Assembly in 2011 as part of the jobs initiative. It provides matching support to farmers to reclaim fallow farmland and bring it back into agricultural production. More information about it and other programs available to farmers through the Connecticut Department of Agriculture is available at www.CTGrown.gov.
(Press release from the office of Gov. Dannel Malloy.)