DOAG: 2019 ISSUE OF CONNECTICUT GROWN MAGAZINE NOW AVAILABLE



May 22, 2019

2019 ISSUE OF CONNECTICUT GROWN MAGAZINE NOW AVAILABLE

Bureau of Agricultural Development and Resource Conservation

 

The Connecticut Department of Agriculture (DoAg) is pleased to release the third annual edition of Connecticut Grown magazine, which showcases the growth and evolution of agriculture.

The magazine, which is funded through sales of advertisements that appear in it, is produced by DoAg in collaboration with Farm Flavor Media, a division of Journal Communications Inc., which produces similar publications for many states across the country showcasing the positive contributions of agriculture.

Distribution to a variety of agricultural organizations and businesses, as well as municipal libraries, town halls, and other outlets ensures that these stories reach a wide audience.

To request copies of the magazine please call 860-713-2503 or email Rebecca.Eddy@ct.gov. The publication is also available online at www.ctagriculture.com.

Agriculture is a $4 billion industry in our state, and we have handpicked a few stories that highlight our hardworking farm families, their passion for continually improving the farm, adapting and incorporating new scientific knowledge, and the changing demographics on the farm. We also reveal the challenges farmers overcome, how they do it, and how the state has assisted in the growth of the industry.

Following are excerpts from some of the magazine’s articles:

CONNECTICUT WOMEN LEAD THEIR FAMILY FARMS INTO THE FUTURE

Jennifer Syme of Broad Brook probably doesn’t look like the stereotypical image that comes to mind for the average consumer when they think of a farmer.

But the 46-year-old wife and mother of two is the co-owner and operator of Syme Family Farm, a diverse business that grows and sells vegetable and herb plants, cut flowers, hanging baskets, mums, pumpkins, Christmas trees, wreaths and fresh eggs from their 100 laying hens. Her husband, Bill, works full time off the farm.

Syme is one of many Connecticut women who are leaders on the farm in various sectors of agriculture. Nationally speaking, one in three farm operators today is female.

HELP FOR HEMP - NEW ASSOCIATION STRIVES TO BUILD HEMP INDUSTRY

A brand-new association aims to revitalize Connecticut’s rural economy with hemp, a crop now allowed to be grown under federal law that had been previously prohibited in the United States for more than 70 years. To fully legalize cultivation, the state needs to pass legislation allowing for the growing of hemp and submit an enforcement plan to the USDA. That process is underway.

A NEW CROP OF FARMERS

Yoko Takemura and her husband earned nonagricultural degrees and didn’t grow up with farming backgrounds. Despite this, the couple will soon be doubling the size of their very own vegetable farm, which they established with the support of programs focused on helping Connecticut’s beginning farmers.

UConn Extension Solid Ground Farmer Training guided them in everything from cover cropping and high tunnels to bookkeeping. Farm tours with the Bionutrient Food Association gave them a firsthand look at practices that could be applied to their farm. Farmer networking events and advocacy work through the New CT Farmer Alliance helped the couple find the resources they needed to start their farm.

THE THIMBLE ISLANDS INITIATIVE IS EXPANDING CONNECTICUT’S SUSTAINABLE AQUACULTURE INDUSTRY

Jonathan Waters grew up watching the oyster boats off the coast of Connecticut.

“I was bit by the bug early on,” he says. In 1985, he started his own shellfish business harvesting 800 acres annually. After 20 years, he decided to semi-retire, selling off ground and observing as it changed hands before ultimately being acquired by DoAg.

In 2014, a complex deal to purchase the rights to cultivate and harvest 900 acres of shellfish franchise ground situated between the Thimble Islands and the coast of Branford from a private citizen was finalized by DoAg. This opened the door to foster development of new commercial aquaculture enterprises while increasing public awareness and support for local and sustainable aquaculture and public stewardship of the environment.

DOAG WORKS WITH PARTNERS TO PROTECT THE LEGACY OF THE LAND

Bud Wright wanted to preserve his 34-acre farm in Bridgewater in honor of his late wife, Maureen. “We wanted to lead by example,” Wright says. “We believed in farming and passing down the farm to the next generation.”

Wright partnered with the Weantinoge Heritage Land Trust and applied for permanent protection of his farmland through DoAg’s Farmland Preservation Program. The partnership was a success, and DoAg purchased the development rights of Wright’s Comanche Hill Farm on July 20, 2018.

UCONN DEVELOPS NEW METHODS TO MANAGE SCHOOL TURF

An even field with manicured grass is essential for a fast-paced sporting event, but the health and safety of the players is no game. When a new law limited methods for managing turf on school athletic fields and landscapes, researchers responded with new options to keep youth at play on quality turf.

In 2010, the state of Connecticut banned the use of most lawn care pesticides at public and private schools serving eighth grade students and younger. That left turf managers without some of their usual methods for protecting turf from invasive weeds, diseases and insects.

FROM ONE GENERATION TO THE NEXT

The future of agriculture is in capable hands with the next generation of farmers. Winner of the 2018 Outstanding Young Farmer award, Lars Demander is the eighth generation of his family to farm Clover Nook Farm in Bethany, and he is largely responsible for the business’s recent growth and expansion.

After earning his master’s degree in agricultural and resource economics, Demander returned to his family’s century farm with a keen interest in educating the local community on agricultural practices that are often misunderstood – including terms like GMOs, organic farming and animal welfare.