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Agricultural Viability

Guiding Principle
Agriculture provides critical goods and services to Connecticut’s citizens and ecosystems. Viable
agriculture enhances the quality of life for the state’s residents through strengthening the economy,
preserving cultural heritage, protecting natural resources, and increasing food security.

Goal
To increase the viability and profitability of the Connecticut agricultural industry and its landscapes.

Objective 1: Facilitate and coordinate emerging efforts by agricultural producers, organizations,
citizen groups, and governmental entities to increase agricultural profitability and viability in
Connecticut.
Strategies:
1. Partner with UConn, Connecticut Department of Agriculture, and Connecticut Beef
Producers to provide business assistance to increase capacity and usage of local slaughterhouse
Operations and processing facilities.
2. With funding through EPA 319 (h), implement a project to evaluate the potential of using dairy
manure to replace peat in bedding and nursery crops.
3. Partner with USDA‐NRCS to conduct outreach educational workshops and demonstrations
of Soil Health principles and practices.
4. Explore ways to assist farmers in making no‐till planting practices more feasible.

Objective 2: Partner with USDA‐Rural Development and Connecticut Department of Agriculture to enhance on farm energy efficiency and renewable energy through the Connecticut Farm Energy Program.
Strategies:
1. Continue to serve as a resource of information on energy in relation to grant opportunities, loans, audits,
education, and events for agricultural producers across Connecticut.
2. Continue distribution of the Connecticut Farm Energy Best Management Practices Guide.
3. Conduct a farm energy survey among Connecticut agricultural producers.
4. Provide technical assistance in the form of grant writing to eligible Connecticut agricultural producers and rural businesses in applying for USDA‐Rural Development REAP grants, as well as providing grant‐writing assistance with USDA Rural Development Value Added Producer grants.
5. Host four grant workshops to provide information about the Connecticut Farm Energy Program, Rural Development REAP Grants, as well as other partner funding opportunities and assistance available to agricultural producers across Connecticut.
6. Convene, in partnership with supporting organizations, a 3rd Annual Connecticut Farm Energy Expo.
7. Work to promote and implement state support through funding and policy for energy efficiency and renewable energy programs and assistance on Connecticut farms.
8. As funds are available partner with the Connecticut Department of Agriculture to develop an AG energy excellence certification program for CT specialty crop farms who meet the criteria to use the energy logo in conjunction with the CT Grown marketing program to increase marketing, sales and Agritourism.
9. As funds are available partner with the Connecticut Department of Agriculture to host energy education workshops for CT specialty crop farmers to increase their knowledge of energy efficiency and renewable energy measures that could be used on their farms.

Objective 3: Develop and initiate policies and projects to promote the economic and cultural importance of farmland protection to municipal officials and decision makers.
Strategies:
1. Partner with the Connecticut Department of Agriculture, the Last Green Valley, USDA‐FSA, USDA‐NRCS, UConn, and
others to continue the AGvocate Program across Connecticut.
2. Develop a “train the trainer” curriculum and hold training sessions to develop a network of “Agvocates” across the State.
3. Provide networking coordination and assistance to ensure that municipalities and agricultural producers have access to information and resources about municipal policy best practices for farming viability and promotion.
4. Convene 3rd Annual Connecticut Agricultural Commission Conference.

Objective 4: Encourage the continued viability of agriculture as a primary land use in Connecticut.
Strategies:
1. Through participation in the Connecticut Farmland Preservation Advisory Board, provide leadership and recommendations on improving farmland protection policies in the State.
2. Support work of the Governor’s Council on Agricultural Development through input and participation in working groups.

Objective 5: Increase awareness of the potential environmental impacts of the equine community on the Connecticut landscape.
Strategies:
1. Conduct outreach to equine owners and municipalities about best management practices through the Horse Environmental Awareness Program (HEAP).
2. Promote new and innovative ideas to manage equine waste.

Agricultural Viability Updates: News & Events

3rd Annual CT Agriculture Commission Conference: "Selling Local Agriculture" Below are links to presentations from the Conference held on Saturday April 5, 2014 at EastConn Conference Center, Hampton, CT.
Welcome:
NRCS Farm Bill Updates (pdf)
The Big Picture:
Why is CT so well suited for "Local Agriculture" (pdf)
Why Local Farming is so importnant in Connecticut (pdf)
Communicating the Message of Local Agriculture:
Buy CT Grown (pdf)
Food Hubs as a catalyst for Local Agricultural Sucess:
Franklin County Community Development Corp. (pdf)
Local iniatives to develop Food Hubs in CT:
Hartford Regional Market (pdf)
Click Willimantic (pdf)
Wholesome Wave (pdf)

AGvocate “Train the Trainer” Boot Camp:
Below are links to presentations from the Boot Camp held Saturday, January 25, 2014 at Goodwin College – The River Campus in East Hartford, CT
TTT_AGvocate Presentation (pdf)
TTT_Ashford Presentation (pdf)
TTT_CT Dept of AG Presentation (pdf)
TTT_CT Farm Burea Presentation (pdf)
TTT_CT Farm Energy Presentation (pdf)
TTT_CT Farmland Trust Presentation (pdf)
TTT_Mansfield Presentation (pdf)
TTT_USDA FSA Presentation (pdf)
TTT_USDA NRCS Presentation (pdf)
If you have any questions please contact John Guszkowski, AGvocate Program Director, at 860-455-8251 or AGvocate@outlook.com

How Your Town Can Support New and Beginning Farmers - Annual AGvocate Fall Workshop: Below are links to presentations from the event held on Thursday, November 21, 2013, at the Canterbury Community Center. Learn about the challenges of being a new farmer in Connecticut, and find out what your town can do to encourage and support them. For additional information about this program please contact: John Guszkowski, AGvocate Program Manager at 860-455-8251 or AGvocate@outlook.com
UConn Presentation (pdf)
FSA Presentation (pdf)
Farm Credit East Presentation (pdf)
Community Farm of Simsbury Presentation (pdf)
Colgan Farm Presentation (pdf)

Second Annual AGvocate Conference: Conference Information & Links:
Harvard Law School’s “Good Laws, Good Food” Guide
Connecticut “Planning for Agriculture” guide – 2nd Edition
FDA Food Safety Modernization Act Information

2012 CT Zoning Regulations & Ordinances for Livestock is now available. As a focus on local agriculture continues to grow in popularity and residential development pushes further into areas that were previously exclusively agricultural, Connecticut communities have struggled with managing these land uses. The RC&D Council, in partnership with American Farmland Trust, USDA-NRCS, Connecticut Farm Bureau, University of Connecticut Extension, the AGvocate program, and numerous agricultural stakeholders, developed this guide to assist municipalities in working through the considerations when seeking to permit, encourage, and regulate the keeping of livestock. To view it click on CT Livestock Manual (pdf)

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