Each year, WLA’s Steering Committee sets its policy priorities to guide our coalition’s advocacy efforts. We work together with our partners to advance legislation and policy initiatives that protect our working lands and promote agricultural viability.
Our priorities in 2017 are focused on three primary 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 and other state agencies that provide critical programs and support to Connecticut farmers and farm businesses
- Identify means to expand farmland access and affordability and educate lawmakers about agricultural viability issues.
Within these areas, WLA will focus again on protecting the integrity of the Community Investment Act and agency funding for the Department of Agriculture, both of which may face cuts as the state addresses projected budget deficits for FY17 and beyond. WLA will also advocate for creative strategies and robust partnerships that will help accelerate the pace of farmland protection in Connecticut.
WLA also supports passage of a resolution calling for a Constitutional Amendment to better protect our state-held conservation and agricultural lands. This amendment was passed in the 2016 legislative session, but rules require it to be passed again in a subsequent session.
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.