DOAG: AG DAY AT THE CAPITOL - Showcases Diversity and Economic Impact of Connecticut Agriculture


  
{ctgrown_color - copy.jpg}
 
March 14, 2018

AG DAY AT THE CAPITOL

Showcases Diversity and Economic Impact of Connecticut Agriculture

Rebecca Eddy Murphy, Bureau of Agricultural Development and Resource Conservation

The third Wednesday in March is said to be “the best day of the year” at the Connecticut State Capitol in Hartford.

Agriculture Day at the Capitol (“Ag Day”), scheduled for March 21, 2018, is a showcase of agricultural displays highlighting the diversity of production and showcasing the important roles agriculture plays in Connecticut’s history and economy, all while contributing to the state’s recreation, hospitality, and tourism sectors.

Organized by the Connecticut Agricultural Information Council (CAIC) and the Connecticut Department of Agriculture, Ag Day offers agricultural non-profits, agricultural producer associations, cooperatives, federal and state agricultural agencies, and Connecticut municipalities the opportunity to educate members of the General Assembly and their staff on the importance of agriculture.

“This event for decades has been a highlight of the year for farmers and other stakeholders who look forward to advocating for agriculture by meeting legislators and telling their stories,” agriculture Commissioner Steven K. Reviczky says. “It is truly a celebration of the diversity and success of agriculture in Connecticut.”

According to the most recent Economic Impacts of Connecticut’s Agricultural Industry, Update 2015, released by UConn’s Zwick Center for Food and Resource Policy, Connecticut agriculture includes 6,000 farms, and 22,000 jobs along with an economic impact on the state economy of $4.0 billion.

At a time when legislators are seeking cost savings and budget cuts, Ag Day serves as a reminder of the importance of Community Investment Act, which funds farmland preservation, dairy sustainability, and Connecticut Grown initiatives among others.

Throughout the Hall of Flags, North Lobby, and Rotunda, exhibitor displays tell their own stories, highlighting programs, services, and success stories. This year more than 45 organizations are expected to attend.

Each organization has the opportunity to provide items for the legislator bags, which in the past have included maple syrup, eggs, honey, promotional items, and literature. Many also serve samples of foods featuring Connecticut Grown ingredients, including seafood chowder, ice cream, apples and omelets.

The Outstanding Young Farmer (OYF) Award is presented annually by the CAIC, a coalition of state farming groups. Candidates are selected based on their achievements in their agricultural enterprises, involvement in the agriculture industry and their community, and their work on soil and water conservation projects.

In the last decade, six Connecticut OYF winners have been National Top 10 Finalists, with Joe DeFrancesco of Farmer Joe’s Gardens, LLC, and Joe Geremia of Geremia Greenhouses both named national winners.

The CAIC also selects the recipient of the annual Century Farm award, given to a farm that has been in family operation for more than 100 years and has outstanding potential to be successful for another 100 years.

The 2017 recipient, which will be recognized at Ag Day, is Kasheta Farms in South Windsor. Started in 1905, its main crop was broadleaf tobacco. Today, Kasheta Farms harvests approximately 400 acres of grain corn, 100 acres of sod, 20 acres of broadleaf tobacco, and 20 acres of pumpkins and gourds.  

Telling the story of agriculture is significant on many levels and the Ag Journalism awards recognize outstanding coverage of Connecticut agriculture by the news media.

For many years Connecticut’s FFA program has been an active participant and contributor to the success of Ag Day with a large contingent attending each year to assist with the building of legislator bags and to learn first-hand how state government works. In addition, corsages for each of the legislators are provided by the students of Southington High School FFA Chapter.

As final preparations take place, CAIC and the Department of Agriculture look forward to another year of showcasing the diversity of Connecticut’s agriculture. For more information, please visit www.ctaginfocouncil.org.

Schedule of Events

  • 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.: Tour Agricultural Displays and Sample Connecticut Grown Products
  • 12:00 p.m.: Ceremony & Awards Presentations
    • Opening Remarks & Reading of Ag Day Proclamation
    • Presentation of Outstanding Young Farmer Award
    • Recognition of 2017 Century Farm Award Recipient
    • Agricultural Journalism Awards
    • Closing Remarks
  • 12:30 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.: Tour Agricultural Displays and Sample Connecticut Grown Products