Department of Agriculture
At a Glance
Statutory authority – Sec. 22-1, CGS Sections 12, 22 and 26
Central office - 165 Capitol Avenue,
Average number of full-time employees - 57
Recurring operating expenses - $4,878,069
Capital purchases - $21,824
Organizational structure - Administrative Services, Regulation and Inspection, Agricultural Development and Resource Preservation, Aquaculture, and Connecticut Marketing Authority.
The mission of the Department of Agriculture is to foster a healthy economic, environmental and social climate for agriculture by developing, promoting and regulating agricultural businesses; protecting agricultural and aquacultural resources; enforcing laws pertaining to domestic animals; and promoting an understanding among the state’s citizens of the diversity of Connecticut’s agriculture, its cultural heritage and its contribution to the state’s economy.
§ Continued to operate an equine rescue facility in cooperation with the Department of Correction at the Gates Correctional Institution in Niantic
§ First Agriculture Viability Grants Awards given out totaling $842,000
§ Dairy Farm Reinforcement Program introduced to offset losses in milk prices. The program includes grants, low-interest loans and utility assistance
§ Milk Regulation Board studied and produced a report for the Environment Committee on the Connecticut Milk Industry
§ Collected and analyzed 5,812 seawater samples for fecal coliform bacteria; examined 242 phytoplankton tows for toxic algal types; and collected 13 shellfish meat samples to verify safety of shellfish at sources of pollution as well as from market areas to develop background data.
§ Completed review of several town natural shellfish beds performing resource and inventory assessments
§ Filled three vacant staff positions and continue extensive training for shellfish sanitation and certification by the U. S. Food and Drug Administration
BUREAU OF AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT AND RESOURCE PRESERVATION
§ Bond funds approved for the purchase of development rights to four farms (331 acres); completed 52 site reviews of proposed state and local projects for impact on prime and important farmland soils
§ Provided $200,000 in state agricultural waste management grants to assist farmers with cost-sharing funds under the Environmental Assistance Agricultural Waste Management Program
BUREAU OF REGULATION AND INSPECTION
· Participated in a nationwide Food and Drug Administration, Food Safety and Security Exercise to evaluate the integrated federal/state food safety and security system
· Participated in the state’s Interagency Task Force for Pandemic Influenza Strategic
· Drafted the state’s Avian Influenza response Plan in cooperation with the Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security