New State Law Will Help Grow Jobs on Connecticut Farms

Oct 19th, 2010 | By | Category: Farm, Legislation

Farmers say outdated restrictions & red tape was holding them back, thank lawmakers for job generating initiative

Small poultry farmers in Connecticut who are looking to expand their business and grow jobs will now be able to do so thanks to a new law approved by the General Assembly, according to a news release from state Sen. Edith Prague.

Senate President Donald E. Williams, Jr. (D-Brooklyn) joined state Sen. Andrew Maynard (D-Stonington), state Sen. Edith Prague (D-Norwich), state Rep. Mae Flexer (D-Danielson), owners of the Ekonk Hill Turkey Farm, and Vice President of the Connecticut Poultry Association Gary Proctor at a news conference on Monday Oct. 18, to detail the changes.

“Local farmers told us we needed to change the law so they could grow their businesses and help the economy—and we listened,” said Senator Williams. “Connecticut’s agricultural industry provides 20,000 jobs to the local economy but thanks to the new law, its impact could soon be even larger.”

Before the law was enacted no one within the state’s Department of Agricultural was required to inspect small poultry farms in Connecticut. (Federal inspectors only inspect large farms). As a result, small farmers were forbidden from selling their product on the commercial market—to restaurants, farmers’ markets, etc. Poultry farmers with less than 20,000 birds were limited to selling to individuals.

Public Act 10-103, An Act Concerning Farms, Food and Jobs, requires the Department of Agricultural to establish regulations and procedures for state inspections of any poultry producer and any producer that also operates as a poultry processing facility.

“Connecticut has a proud farming tradition,” said Senator Maynard, “but like so many other businesses, our farms are struggling. This new law is a great example of how government can support business by being responsive and working cooperatively to remedy a situation that would otherwise have negative impact on farmers and on our state economy.”

“What I appreciate most about vibrant, local agriculture, if you will, is how most revenue generated is plowed right back into the local economy, in terms of wages paid and supplies purchased,” Senator Prague said. “What we’ve done to create jobs in this sector of our economy is a solid investment in the future of our state, with the likely prospect of positive returns on that investment.”

Jon Hermonot, of Ekonk Hill Turkey Farm, said, “The new law benefits consumers that are looking for locally grown poultry. It also creates jobs on farms developing poultry enterprises. By opening up new market opportunities for Connecticut’s farms, they will expand and add to the “viability” of farming in Connecticut. Improved farm viability in Connecticut will create jobs. This new law will allow more locally grown foods to be available to Connecticut’s consumers. It also enhances the demand for farmland which will promote the conservation of Connecticut’s natural resources.”

Gary Proctor, Chairman, Connecticut Poultry Association said, “Considering the multiplier effect of direct sales, the economic impact to jobs and the economy would be very significant and the removal of roadblocks to marketing local poultry will give rise to more retail farm stands that can begin offering poultry products.”

Steven K. Reviczky, Executive Director, Connecticut Farm Bureau Association, testified in favor of the bill in March when it was being considered by the Environment Committee. He said, “I strongly supports this bill and thinks that it is an exciting measure that seeks to promote the local farms and local jobs, which is needed to boost Connecticut economy.”

In addition to helping local poultry farmers, Public Act 10-103 make a number of changes to existing laws governing agriculture in Connecticut. The new law:

    * Allows the preparation and sale of acidified foods on residential farms under certain conditions
    * Strengthens the Connecticut Milk Promotion Board which develops, coordinates, and implements promotional, research, and other programs designed to promote Connecticut dairy farms and milk consumption
    * Expands the definition of a farmer’s market so as to encourage their growth

Be Sociable, Share!
Tags: , , , ,

Leave a Comment