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 agriculture, its cultural heritage and its contribution to the state’s economy.
Connecticut may be one of the county’s smaller states, but its agricultural impact is substantial. With a total of 5,521 farms spread across 381,539 acres – each averaging about 69 acres – Connecticut’s ag industry contributes approximately $4 billion to the state’s economy each year. It also provides approximately 22,000 jobs statewide, whether in production, processing or agribusiness.
Greenhouse and nursery products account for over 50% of Connecticut’s agricultural production, while other important crops include apples, hay, dairy products, shellfish (including clams and oysters) and tobacco. In fact, Connecticut is ranked 10th in the country for maple syrup production.
With more than 100 farmers’ markets operating across the state, Connecticut consumers have access to fresh, local foods year round. Eating local foods supports farmers and growers, bolsters the state’s economy, and greatly benefits the general public health.