Farmland Preservation Program
2010 Annual Report Summary (2 pgs, .pdf)
2009 Annual Report Summary (2 pgs, .pdf)
2007-2008 Biennial Report Summany (2pgs, .pdf)
2007 Annual Report Summary (2 pgs, .pdf)
One of Connecticut's greatest resources is it's farmland. This farmland is also the heart of one of the Stateís most vital businesses, agriculture. The Department of Agriculture preserves farmland by acquiring development rights to agricultural properties. The farms remain in private ownership and continue to pay local property taxes. A permanent restriction on nonagricultural uses is placed on these properties. Nationally, farmland preservation has been recognized in the federal Farm Bill and Connecticut's Farmland Preservation has qualified for participation in the federal Farmland Protection Program.
The program is voluntary on the part of the applicant. Applications are evaluated according to state regulation criteria. Successful applicants will own active farms that contain a high percentage of prime farmland soils and are in established farm communities. Early program studies estimated a development rights program in Connecticut would average 40% acquisition of lands classified by the United States Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service as prime and important farmland soils. The programís efforts through its negotiations and scoring criteria recognize the benefits of clustering farms in active farm communities. It has allowed the Commissioner to work with the best of the best applications and has enabled the program to average 65% prime and important farmland soils on its preserved farms.
The goals and reasons for Farmland Preservation remain unchanged. A goal of preserving 130,000 acres, with 85,000 acres of cropland continues to be in effect for the Department of Agriculture. As of December 8, 2008, the Farmland Preservation Program has preserved 34,500 acres on the 254 farms constituting approximately 26% of the 130,000 acre goal. More than half of these acres are classified as prime and important farmland soils. This land base will enable Connecticut to produce at least 50% of its fluid milk needs and 70% of its in-season fresh fruits and vegetables. This in-state production will ensure some degree of local availability of fresh farm products. It will also help ensure related jobs and remain an important part of the Stateís economy.
The main objective of the farmland preservation program is to secure a food and fiber producing land resource base, consisting primarily of prime and important farmland soils, for the future of agriculture in Connecticut. We try to accomplish this by preserving active farms that are clustered with other farms, therefore stabilizing a viable farming region.
Farmers continue to strongly support the program and think of it as a permanent program that will be there to give them a realistic alternative to selling their farm for residential development.
The Program Assists the Public and Agricultural Communities Across the State By:
- Preserving the best and most productive agricultural land.
- Providing an opportunity for farmers to purchase land at affordable prices.
- Helping farm owners overcome estate planning problems which often result in farmland loss.
- Providing working capital to enable farm operations to become more financially stable.
- Addressing other personal ownership problems, such as health and age, which contribute to the likelihood of land being converted to non-agricultural uses.
- Providing a range of community amenities including its curious blend of serenity and industry.
How the Program Works in Connecticut:
A summary of how Connecticutís farmland preservation program works is as follows:
- Landowners may apply to the program voluntarily.
- A notice of application is filed with the town clerk of the town where the farm is located.
- The application is evaluated according to state regulation criteria. If the farm meets minimum scoring criteria, the Commissioner may accept the application.
- Configuration of the application and specifics of the easement are negotiated and agreed to by the land owner and Commissioner of Agriculture.
- The farm is appraised for the unrestricted market value and the market agricultural value, the difference between the two indicating the value of the development rights.
- The appraisals are reviewed with the land owner and the Commissioner may negotiate anywhere from a gift of, to the full value of the development rights.
- An agreement letter is presented from the Commissioner to the land owner representing the agreed upon price. The letter is reviewed and approved by the Attorney General.
- A detailed report is submitted to the State Properties Review Board for review and approval.
- Funds are requested for the acquisition, including funds for an A-2 survey, title insurance, and title search, from the State Bond Commission, Chaired by the Governor.
- Upon Bond Commission approval, the state obtains an A-2 survey and title search of the property. Upon completion, the conveyance of development rights deed is executed and a check for the development rights acquisition processed. After all the documents are approved by the Attorney General, a closing is held and the documents and maps are recorded in the local land records and with the deed with the Secretary of State.
For more information on the Farmland Preservation Program, please read our Do's and Don'ts Brochure - pdf, 2pgs.
Also available: Conservation Options for Connecticut Farmland - .pdf, 20pgs.
For more information contact:
J. Joseph Dippel, Director
Farmland Preservation Program
Connecticut Department of Agriculture
165 Capitol Avenue
Hartford, CT 06106
Phone: (860) 713-2511
Fax: (860) 713-2514