HARTFORD — Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, state Agriculture Commissioner Steven K. Reviczky, and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) State Conservationist Lisa Coverdale have announced an agreement that will allow Connecticut to use more than $8 million in federal funds to keep farmland in agricultural production.
The agreement also will increase flexibility in use of federal funds through the state’s Farmland Preservation Program. More than 300 state farms have been protected under the program, including nearly 100 achieved with $20 million in assistance from the federal USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Farm & Ranchland Protection Program.
“This funding will be used to ensure that our state’s farms – some of the best in the country – will continue producing Connecticut Grown products and keep our beautiful lands and natural resources preserved,” said Malloy. “Connecticut continues to lead New England in the growth rate of farms over the past couple of years, where the agriculture industry contributes $3.5 billion to our economy and provides nearly 28,000 jobs in our state. I remain committed to the growth of this crucial industry and to the hard working families of Connecticut who work in it.”
The agreement will extend all NRCS farmland-protection funds obligated to Connecticut until March 31, 2015, giving the state greater flexibility in negotiating agreements with farm owners wishing to participate in the program.