On Thursday, Lt. Governor Michael Fedele met with representatives of the agricultural industry to discuss their importance to our state’s economy. Last year alone, agriculture in Connecticut contributed over $2 billion to the state’s economy and employed over 4,200 of our state’s residents.
Connecticut has long been known for its agricultural contributions not only throughout New England, but also across our nation. “When you can have a glass of milk, cook mushrooms on the grill and eat oysters on the half-shell, and chances are that they are Connecticut grown,” said Lt. Governor Fedele.
During the course of the day, Lt. Governor Fedele toured three facilities in Eastern Connecticut representing the three largest parts of our agriculture industry – dairy, horticulture and poultry.
At Cushman Farms in North Franklin, the Lt. Governor met with members of The Farmer’s Cow and Very Alive partnership to discuss the need for a sustainable plan to ensure that farmers across Connecticut can continue to create jobs and efficiently and cost-effectively produce goods to be consumed not only by state residents, but to be exported nationwide and overseas.
Accordingly, Governor Rell recently signed a bill that will help to stabilize the dairy farms in our state by preserving open space and providing aid to farmers who are struggling with falling prices in today’s market.
“These local farms are a pillar of our state’s economy; we cannot afford to lose the jobs they create to agricultural producers in other states who can afford to produce their goods at a lesser cost. We must continue to buy local products. When you buy Connecticut grown, you’re helping to grow Connecticut,” the Lt. Governor said.
At Pride’s Corner Farm in Lebanon, Lt. Governor Fedele surveyed the 500 acre facility that specializes in growing plants, trees and shrubs that are shipped throughout the eastern seaboard.
“It speaks very well for the Lt. Governor and state government in general to take the time to visit with different businesses to stay in touch with their challenges,” said Gregory Weidemann, Dean of Students at the University of Connecticut College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. “That university, state, business partnership is important to Connecticut’s future success and communication at their place of business is an important piece of that process.”
The University of Connecticut’s Cooperative Extension Program is a partnership that works towards a sustainable future for our state’s farmers by providing a variety of programs and resources for students. The program aims to develop our state’s agricultural workforce, by keeping jobs in Connecticut and ensuring one part of a long-term plan to keep our farms in the green – not only in terms of environmentally friendliness – but also on their balance sheets.
During a visit to Kofkoff Egg Farm, New England’s largest producer of eggs, Lt. Governor Fedele toured the plant and discussed a plan to convert biomass from chicken manure and wood waste into a form of energy that could be put back into our state’s energy grid.
“Our state depends on the dedicated farmers who provide food for us to put on our tables,” the Lt. Governor said, “they deserve the opportunity to keep their farms running to continue providing for their families.”
For more information about the state’s agricultural industry, visit the Connecticut Department of Agriculture’s website at www.ct.gov/doag.
To support farmers across our state, look for products that are grown in Connecticut, for more information visit www.buyctgrown.com.