This year’s legislative session runs from January 4th to June 7th. With so many new legislators, a new power-sharing arrangement in the Senate, and the state’s ongoing fiscal woes, it will certainly prove to be a session that is both exciting and challenging!
Our priorities continue to be focused in three areas:
- Increase pace of statewide farmland protection efforts and maximize state and federal investment in farmland preservation programs.
- Advocate for funding and staff resources needed for the Department of Agriculture to provide critical programs and support to Connecticut farmers and farm businesses
- Identify means to expand farmland access and affordability and serve as a resource for lawmakers about agricultural viability issues.
First and foremost, our focus will be on defending the Community Investment Act, bond funding for our farmland preservation programs, and agency funding for the Department of Agriculture, all of which may face cuts as the state addresses projected budget deficits for FY17 and beyond.
WLA will also be pursuing the required second year passage of a Constitutional Amendment that helps to protect the state’s conservation, agricultural, and recreation lands from being conveyed without appropriate process and compensation.
Additionally, WLA will advocate for creative strategies, robust partnerships, and streamlined approaches that will help accelerate the pace of farmland protection in Connecticut. These efforts are aimed at building on the momentum from strong years in both 2015 and 2016 for our Farmland Preservation Programs!
Finally, WLA will continue efforts to identify means to expand farmland access and affordability. This includes exploring tax incentives, beginning farmer loan programs, and other policy tools that can help ‘next generation’ farmers secure access to land.
To view WLA’s complete policy agenda for 2017, click here.