The low down on some of NCTFA's advocacy work:
As new and beginning farmers, we know one of the first major problems we face is access to farmland.
In CT, the purchase price per acre of land is one of the highest in the US. Farmers are competing for land with residential developers who have huge pockets. There few affordable farms that have prime agricultural soils. Even fewer have a house in good condition or the buildings and infrastructure necessary for the types of farm enterprises most of us want to pursue.
CT can be a tough place to start farming if you don’t have a lot of capital or didn’t inherit a farm. But it isn’t impossible. While some new farmers have left CT, others of us have figured out how to start a farm here. There are a number of organizations and agencies who are all trying to make this better. NCTFA is one of them.
We want to have the difficult conversations around land access. We want to improve existing programs and create new programs that help farmers achieve their land access dreams. We hope that as a member of NCTFA, you can learn more about accessing land in CT and join us in making it easier for this and the next generation to continue farming here.
NCTFA Steering Committee members are involved with a few different efforts to improve land access in our state. Will, Robert, and Ellie sit on the Department of Ag's Farmland Preservation Advisory Board. Will and Ellie are also on the board of Working Lands Alliance and the Farmland Access Working Group. Robert, Liz, and Freedom participate in the Department of Ag's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Main Working Group, which will give the department recommendations regarding land access.
Climate Change Mitigation & Adaptation
Farmers are on the front lines of climate change. Our livelihoods are extremely vulnerable to it. While large corporate farms are significant contributors to climate change, we know our farms can be part of the solution.
In the 2022 legislative session, as part of the Working Lands Alliance, NCTFA helped advocate to secure funding for farms to implement climate smart practices in the following categories (identified by the USDA):
Water conservation, irrigation
Water quality conservation - managing manure, pesticide runoff/pollution
Soil health, reduced or no till, cover coping
Greenhouse and Nursery infrastructure for energy efficiency
Renewable energy, energy efficiency upgrades
This advocacy was successful! 14 million dollars was allocated to funding climate smart ag projects. You can read more about it on WLA's website. Now we will advocate for the funding to be administered in a racially just way, ensuring that all farmers are able to take advantage of the program.
NCTFA is Also Working on:
Spreading the word about our policy platform, Future of Farming CT.
Confronting racism In CT agriculture & supporting opportunities for Black, Indigenous, and POC farmers.