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News Release

More Than 350 Acres of Connecticut’s Farmland Protected this Year

Thomas L. Morgart, Connecticut state conservationist for the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, has announced that during Fiscal Year 2021, the agency has been part of successfully preserving 370 acres of the state’s precious farmland located in the towns of Newtown, Easton, Rocky Hill, Lebanon, and Washington. “This is an important step in our mission to protect the state’s valuable working agricultural lands,” said Morgart.

In Connecticut and across the nation, placing an agricultural land easement on productive working lands protects the long-term viability of our food supply by keeping the land open and productive. Land protected by conservation easements also provides public benefits such as environmental quality, historic preservation, wildlife habitat, and protection of open space. 

“Much of that 370 acres is prime, statewide, and local important farmland soils. Permanently protecting  farmland with these types of high-yielding soils is of major importance in meeting Connecticut’s – and the nation’s – short- and long-range needs to clothe and feed a hungry world,” Morgart said.

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) lead agency when it comes to conservation. Their Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) protects agricultural viability and related conservation values of eligible land by limiting non-agricultural uses; protecting grazing uses; and protecting, restoring, and enhancing wetlands on eligible land. Eligible lands include private or Tribal land that is agricultural land, cropland, rangeland, grassland, pastureland, and nonindustrial private forest land.  Eligible landowners include owners of privately held land including land that is held by Tribes and tribal members.

NRCS works with partners to provide financial assistance toward the Agricultural Land Easements purchase. Eligible partners include state and local government, American Indian tribes, and non-governmental organizations that have farmland, rangeland, or grassland protection programs. Partners for the six conservation easements closed this year included the Connecticut Farmland Trust, the Connecticut Department of Agriculture, and Steep Rock Association.

To learn more about the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s ACEP Program, contact Carol Donzella, Program Manager, at (203) 859-7000.