Number of farms in CT is growing
The number of farms in Connecticut has grown by almost 22% in the past five years, the highest growth rate of any state in New England.
That’s according to a recent report issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Connecticut had 5,977 farms in 2012, compared to 4,916 in 2007, according to the federal department’s latest Census on Agriculture report.
“Despite an overall decline in farm numbers nationally, Connecticut has made great strides in this area,” Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said in reaction to the report.
The number of farms increased in all six New England states, bucking the national trend.
‘Long-range, strategic pathway’
Malloy said efforts to “build a long-range, strategic pathway to grow Connecticut farms is working,” with the assistance of state Agriculture Commissioner Steven K. Reviczky, the state agency’s staff, and the Governor’s Council for Agricultural Development.
“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,” the governor said.
Connecticut had 436,406 acres used for farmland as of 2012, compared to 405,616 acres in 2007.
The state’s Farmland Restoration Program provides matching support to farmers to reclaim fallow farmland and bring it back into agricultural production.
Agriculture jobs in state: 28,000
Agriculture is a significant industry in Connecticut. According to the USDA’s 2007 census, agriculture contributed $3.5 billion to Connecticut’s economy and provided nearly 28,000 jobs.
“These numbers clearly are on the rise,” Malloy said. “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,” he continued, “people in this state were worried about farms disappearing in Connecticut. We have come a long way in a few short years.”
Learn more about the state’s farm programs at www.CTGrown.gov.