WLA’s Success Speaks for Itself
In 1999, when WLA came into existence, the landscape for farmland preservation efforts was entirely different. The Governor at the time chronically underfunded the state’s Farmland Preservation Program, which in some years received little or no funding. Farmland preservation in Connecticut was lagging and desperately needed a champion. And that’s where WLA stepped in.
Since that time, WLA has been instrumental in numerous policy successes, raising the profile of farmland preservation issues across the state. In 2005, WLA worked closely with many statewide partners to create the Community Investment Act. This forward-thinking piece of legislation has provided millions of dollars for farmland preservation and numerous agricultural programs, as well as open space conservation, historic preservation, and affordable housing.
A Uniquely Effective Coalition
Over the past decade, WLA’s work as a coalition has led to numerous other policy successes. Here are a few notable examples:
- Since 2005, WLA has led campaigns that have generated more than $90 Million for Connecticut’s Farmland Preservation Program, including authorizations of $10 million per year for five fiscal years in a row (FY 11 through FY15).
- On less than a $100,000 budget, we have leveraged an average of $12 Million annually in state investments in farmland protection.
- WLA and its partners advocated for the protection of state-held agricultural lands, leading to the permanent protection of nearly 1000 acres of prime state-owned farmland at Southbury Training School.
- WLA was a key partner in developing the Community Farms Preservation Program, which protects locally significant farms that are not eligible for traditional farmland protection programs.
- WLA was instrumental in the passage of legislation that allowed for state bond funds for farmland preservation to be released in lump sums, avoiding the need to seek approval from the Bond Commission for individual projects.
- In 2015, WLA helped pass a bill making it easier for land trusts and municipalities to leverage the state and federal funding needed to complete conservation projects – giving a boost to our efforts to protect farmland and open space.
- In 2018, WLA worked to expand the CT Department of Agriculture’s authority to undertake “Buy/Protect/Sell” projects and ensured that the Department can apply for Agricultural Land Easement (ALE) funding through USDA’s Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP).
- WLA was a key partner in the passing of Question 2 on the 2018 ballot which changed the CT Constitution to require the CT General Assembly to hold a public hearing and A 2/3rds vote by the Legislature before the state can convey public lands that include State Parks and Forests, Wildlife Management Areas, state-owned agricultural lands, and other valuable state-owned public lands.
WLA Provides a High Return on Investment for Your Gifts
WLA is recognized by many partners and stakeholders as a uniquely effective coalition. We provide a strong voice for farmland preservation issues at the Capitol and have real and measurable successes to point to. And the best part? We have done this all on a modest budget. Your membership to WLA provides a high return on investment and brings you together with a growing coalition who cares deeply about our working lands.