|MAY 10, 2010 --
In the final days of the legislative session, both the Connecticut House and Senate unanimously approved a bill dubbed the "Farms, Food and Jobs Bill," which helps support many of Connecticut's family farms. The Connecticut Farm Bureau, which worked hard to assure the bill's passage, says it means the State is taking a great step forward in helping support the agriculture industry.
"We and many of our farming members are thrilled with the bill's passage and we await Governor Rell's signature," according to Steve Reviczky, executive director of the Connecticut Farm Bureau Association. "This bill helps our state's farmers by allowing them to expand the market for their products, helps state consumers by giving them more options to purchase farm-fresh items, and helps create jobs."
A news release listed the following accomplishments of the bill:
- Acidified Foods: An independent bill colloquially known as "The Pickle Bill" was rolled into the Farms, Food and Jobs bill and allows farmers to sell acidified foods direct from the farm. This means items with a pH of 4.6 or less such as pickles, relishes and chow-chow, can be sold direct to consumers from farms without commercial kitchens that complete a food safety course and have the recipe tested for safety.
- Poultry : Farms that raise poultry will be allowed process and sell dressed poultry or poultry products directly to consumers, restaurants, and hotels. The bill grants the State Department of Agriculture the authority to inspect poultry farms and processing to ensure safety. The bill's provisions are limited to farms that produce no more than 5,000 turkeys and 20,000 other poultry annually.
- Farmers Markets: Expands the opportunity for farmer's markets across the state, allowing them to be set up as single-day events or as part of happenings such as county fairs.
- Milk Promotion: Allows the state's Milk Promotion Board to access part of the federal milk promotion funds for local use, educating state residents about the benefits of milk and funding promotion and research.
"By expanding the opportunities for farmers to sell their products, everyone benefits," says Connecticut Farm Bureau President Don Tuller. "Connecticut agriculture is growing as consumers demand more Connecticut grown products. This legislation greatly improves farmers opportunity to produce and sell their products. When they sell more products, we'll see more jobs created and more revenue come into the state's economy. This bill also helps consumers who want to support local farming by giving them more chances to do so."
"In a tough legislative year, the Farms, Food and Jobs Bill is a truly a bright spot for Connecticut farmers and consumers," Reviczky added
About the Connecticut Farm Bureau Association
Since 1919, The Connecticut Farm Bureau Association has provided a strong, clear voice in state agricultural issues. As a non-governmental, voluntary organization of farm families, the Connecticut Farm Bureau is united to find solutions for concerns facing production agriculture in our counties, state and nation. Volunteer leaders and staff work closely with state and federal regulatory agencies and elected officials on issues ranging from economic viability, property rights, taxation, land use planning to labor laws and farmland preservation. For more information visit www.cfba.org.