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CT Farm Jobs Receive Growing Support

State officials are doing their part to help support CT farm jobs.

Gov. M. Jodi Rell recently signed a bill that will help save the state’s $1 billion dairy industry and preserve valuable farmland by providing direct aid for the next two years to farmers struggling with historically low milk prices and high production costs. Money for the aid will be generated by revenues from a $40 fee for recording municipal land documents.

“Dairy farms are an irreplaceable part of our landscape and our culture and keeping family farms viable ensures that we retain the ability to produce fresh, local food. We cannot afford to lose them,” Rell said. “Once they disappear so do the countless businesses and thousands of jobs the dairy industry supports.”

Connecticut’s farming industry generates up to $1.1 billion in sales, about 4,200 jobs and $145 million to $208 million in personal income.

There are currently 151 dairy farms throughout the State of Connecticut, down from 500 farms in 1990 and 210 farms in 2007. Those farms use more than 83,000 acres in cropland, 30,000 of which is preserved farmland. During Q1, state dairy farmers received about $1.07 per gallon of milk produced, compared to $1.42 per gallon in 1998, a decrease of almost 25 percent.

The state Department of Agriculture notes that Connecticut dairy farmers lose about $1 for every gallon of milk they produce. The amount of funds farmers receive will be based on how much milk each farm produces and the costs to produce it, such as feed, equipment, fertilizer and fuel.

“The State of Connecticut is doing all we can for our dairy farmers, but real, lasting change is urgently needed at the federal level where prices are set,” Rell added.

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