U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Veterinary Services: (860) 713-2576
Section 22-1 of the Connecticut General Statutes establishes the Department of Agriculture.
Sec. 22-6. Powers and duties of commissioner. The Commissioner of Agriculture shall be the administrative head of the Department of Agriculture. He shall encourage and promote the development of agriculture within the state and collect and publish information and statistics in regard to the agricultural and animal industries and interests of the state and submit the same to the Governor in his annual report. He shall, annually, visit different sections of the state and investigate the methods and wants of practical husbandry, the adaptation of agricultural products to soil, climate and markets, and, as far as practicable, visit agricultural fairs within the state, encourage the establishment of farmers' clubs, agricultural libraries and reading rooms and disseminate agricultural information by lectures or otherwise. In cooperation with The University of Connecticut, he may prepare and publish bulletins containing information concerning the cost of production of farm products. He is authorized to hold an annual state exhibit at the Eastern States Exposition at West Springfield, Massachusetts. He is authorized to enter into an agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture for cooperative work in the collection and publication of agricultural statistics. The commissioner shall have the authority to charge such fees as he may deem reasonable for publications of information by any of the component agencies of the Department of Agriculture. The commissioner shall review any proposed capital project which would convert twenty-five or more acres of prime farmland or one acre or more of shellfish grounds to a nonagricultural use and if such project promotes agriculture or the goal of agricultural land preservation or if there is no reasonable alternative site for the project he shall file a statement with the Bond Commission so indicating. The commissioner shall file a statement with the Bond Commission for any proposed capital project which would convert or impair any shellfish grounds and shall include in such statement any comments he deems appropriate for the protection of such grounds. The commissioner shall administer those provisions of sections 12-107a, 12-107b, 12-107c and 12-107e which address the assessment of farmland and open space. The commissioner may request the Attorney General to bring an action in the Superior Court for injunctive relief requiring compliance with any statute, regulation, order or permit administered, adopted or issued by him. The Commissioner of Agriculture may designate as his agent (1) any deputy commissioner to exercise all or part of the authority, powers and duties of the commissioner in his absence and (2) any deputy commissioner or any employee to exercise such authority of the commissioner as he delegates for the administration or enforcement of any applicable statute, regulation, permit or order, except the authority to render a final decision after a hearing.
The Department of Agriculture will benefit the citizens of the state through proactive programs that address the issues of the changing face of agriculture.
The mission of the Department of Agriculture is to foster a healthy economic, environmental and social climate for agriculture by developing, promoting and regulating agricultural businesses; protecting agricultural and aquacultural resources; enforcing laws pertaining to domestic animals; and promoting an understanding among the state's citizens of the diversity of Connecticut agriculture, its cultural heritage and its contribution to the state's economy.
The agency consists of the Commissioner's Office, the Bureaus of Regulation and Inspection, Aquaculture, and Agricultural Development and Resource Preservation and the Regional Market.
The Commissioner's Office provides the information, policy, fiscal and support services necessary for the development and implementation of the department's programs. It directs the department's legislative program and all media and public relations. In addition, it oversees the and coordinates the Governor's Council on Agricultural Development.
The Bureau of Regulation and Inspection manages the regulation and inspection of agricultural products and commodities, and provides services to ensure food safety. The bureau also enforces the law with regard to humane treatment of animals and animal diseases.
The Bureau of Aquaculture oversees marine and inland aquaculture production activities, administers the state Shellfish Sanitation Program, and operates the laboratory facility in Milford, leasing and restoration of shellfish beds and licensing of persons engaged in commercial harvesting of shellfish. The bureau leads an interagency board created by legislation to develop a strategic statewide plan for inland aquaculture.
The Bureau of Agricultural Development and Resource Preservation directs programs and activities that assist persons in entering, diversifying and expanding their agricultural businesses. It compiles statistics regarding all aspects of agriculture in the state. It administers the Farmland Preservation Program and the Farmers' Market Nutrition Program.
The Hartford Regional Market is a statutorily authorized facility located in Hartford with the purpose of providing a central location for farmers and wholesalers to sell and distribute food and other agricultural products. The Market covers 32 acres, contains 230,386 square feet of warehouse space, an active railroad spur and 144 stalls in the farmers' market.