State Representative Tim Ackert (R- Coventry) joined his colleagues Rep. Penny Bacchiochi (R- Somers) and Sen. John Kissel (R- Enfield) in calling for the creation of a legislative committee which focuses solely on agriculture issues.
Ackert represents Coventry, Columbia and Vernon which all have agricultural enterprises and he feels that the committee can help the state capitalize on opportunities to grow the state’s agricultural industry.
The Environment Committee is currently one of a few committees which acts on agricultural issues. The Select Committee on Agriculture would focus specifically on agriculture in one place, set an agriculture policy which can be guided through the Legislature, and reduce the split efforts of having different committees work on agricultural issues. The agriculture committee would have cognizance of all matters relating to the Department of Agriculture, including farming, dairy products and domestic animals.
According to the University of Connecticut’s Economic Impacts of Agricultural Industry report from 2010:
- Agriculture generates some $1.7 billion in value added economic impacts. (indirect)
- Agriculture is estimated to generate almost $1,000 in sales perConnecticutresident.
- Every dollar in agriculture sales generates an additional dollar in the state economy.
- $1 million spent on agriculture generates between 13 and 19 jobs: an average of $62,500 per job.
- Agricultural land (field and pasture) consists of 13% ofConnecticut’s land cover, with over 50% forest. (as of 2006)
- Connecticut Agriculture ranks 3rd inNew England agricultural sales.