CHAPTER 422
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Table of Contents

Sec. 22-6c. Reimbursement of comprehensive farm nutrient management plan, farm resources management plan or farmland restoration costs. Limitation of amounts.
Sec. 22-6d. Definitions.
Sec. 22-6e. Use of vacant public land for gardening, agricultural purposes or agricultural restoration purposes.
Sec. 22-6r. Certified farmers' markets. Definitions. Sale of farm products at farmers' kiosks and food service establishments.
Sec. 22-6s. Operation of food service establishment by a farmer at a certified farmers' market.
Sec. 22-26e. Governor's Council for Agricultural Development.

      Sec. 22-6c. Reimbursement of comprehensive farm nutrient management plan, farm resources management plan or farmland restoration costs. Limitation of amounts. (a) The Commissioner of Agriculture may reimburse any farmer for part of the cost of compliance with a comprehensive farm nutrient management plan or a farm resources management plan, provided such plan has been approved by the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection. The Commissioner of Agriculture, in cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture, may certify for payment comprehensive farm nutrient management or farm resources management plan practices that have been approved by the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection pursuant to this section. The total federal and state grant available to a farmer shall not be more than ninety per cent of such cost. In making grants under this subsection, the Commissioner of Agriculture shall give priority to capital improvements made in accordance with a comprehensive farm nutrient management plan or a farm resources plan prepared pursuant to section 22a-354m.

      (b) The Commissioner of Agriculture may reimburse any farmer for part of the cost associated with developing a farm resources management plan intended to restore farmland, provided such plan has been approved by the commissioner and such reimbursement does not exceed fifty per cent of the cost of such plan or twenty thousand dollars, whichever is less. Such plan may require agricultural restoration purposes, as defined in section 22-6d.

      (P.A. 74-258, S. 1, 3; P.A. 75-335, S. 1, 2; P.A. 85-266, S. 1, 2; P.A. 89-305, S. 28, 32; May Sp. Sess. P.A. 94-2, S. 8, 203; P.A. 97-234, S. 1; June 30 Sp. Sess. P.A. 03-6, S. 146(e); P.A. 04-65, S. 1; 04-189, S. 1; P.A. 11-80, S. 1; Oct. Sp. Sess. P.A. 11-1, S. 14.)

      History: P.A. 75-335 made reimbursement for 50% of cost of completion of component of farm waste management system optional rather than mandatory; P.A. 85-266 made the maximum grant 75% of the cost of a component, rather than 50% of the cost but not more than $3,500; P.A. 89-305 required agriculture commissioner to give priority for grants to capital improvements made in accordance with farm resources plan; May Sp. Sess. P.A. 94-2 changed provision requiring completion of a farm waste management system for reimbursement by agriculture department to compliance with a farm resources management plan and added reference to certifications made by environmental protection department, effective July 1, 1994 (Revisor's note: In 1995 an obsolete reference to "such component" of a farm waste management system was changed editorially by the Revisors to "such plan" in keeping with substitution of farm resources management plans for farm waste management systems and their components); P.A. 97-234 changed reference to the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service to the Farm Service Agency; June 30 Sp. Sess. P.A. 03-6 replaced Commissioner of Agriculture with Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Protection, effective July 1, 2004; P.A. 04-65 added provisions re comprehensive farm nutrient management plan, deleted requirement for certification by federal Farm Service Agency, added provision authorizing certification for payment by Commissioner of Agriculture in cooperation with U.S. Department of Agriculture and changed total federal and state grant amount limit from 75% to 90% of cost, effective May 10, 2004; P.A. 04-189 repealed Sec. 146 of June 30 Sp. Sess. P.A. 03-6, thereby reversing the merger of the Departments of Agriculture and Consumer Protection, effective June 1, 2004; pursuant to P.A. 11-80, "Commissioner of Environmental Protection" was changed editorially by the Revisors to "Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection", effective July 1, 2011; Oct. Sp. Sess. P.A. 11-1 designated existing provisions as Subsec. (a) and amended same to make technical changes, and added Subsec. (b) re reimbursement for part of the cost associated with a farm resources management plan intended to restore farmland, effective October 27, 2011.

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      Sec. 22-6d. Definitions. As used in section 22-6e: "Commissioner" means the Commissioner of Agriculture; "department" means the Department of Agriculture; "garden" means a piece of land appropriate for the cultivation of herbs, fruits, flowers, or vegetables; "sponsor" means any municipal agency or nonprofit civic service association or organization designated by the commissioner to operate a program pursuant to section 22-6e; "use" means, when applied to gardening, to make use of, without conveyance of title or any other ownership; "vacant public land" means any land owned by the state, or any municipality therein, that is not in use for public purposes; "agricultural restoration purposes" means reclamation of grown over pastures and meadows, installation of fences to keep livestock out of riparian areas, replanting of vegetation on erosion prone land or along streams, restoration of water runoff patterns, improvement of irrigation efficiency, conducting hedgerow management, including the removal of invasive plants and timber, or renovating farm ponds through farm pond management.

      (P.A. 75-497, S. 1, 4; P.A. 77-75, S. 1, 3; P.A. 82-327, S. 9; June 30 Sp. Sess. P.A. 03-6, S. 146(e), (f); P.A. 04-189, S. 1; Oct. Sp. Sess. P.A. 11-1, S. 12.)

      History: P.A. 77-75 defined "sponsor"; P.A. 82-327 removed the reference to a repealed Sec. 7-152a; June 30 Sp. Sess. P.A. 03-6 replaced Commissioner and Department of Agriculture with Commissioner and Department of Agriculture and Consumer Protection, effective July 1, 2004; P.A. 04-189 repealed Sec. 146 of June 30 Sp. Sess. P.A. 03-6, thereby reversing the merger of the Departments of Agriculture and Consumer Protection, effective June 1, 2004; Oct. Sp. Sess. P.A. 11-1 defined "agricultural restoration purposes", effective October 27, 2011.

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      Sec. 22-6e. Use of vacant public land for gardening, agricultural purposes or agricultural restoration purposes. (a) The commissioner may develop a program to encourage the use of vacant public land owned by the state for gardening, agricultural purposes or agricultural restoration purposes. In order to carry out said program, the commissioner shall: (1) In cooperation with other state agencies, compile a list of all vacant public land owned by the state, that in the opinion of such agencies and the commissioner may be feasibly used for gardening, agriculture or, based upon soil type, is suitable for agricultural restoration purposes, and (2) establish a procedure for application to the department on a form to be furnished by the commissioner for a permit to use available vacant public land for gardening, agricultural purposes or agricultural restoration purposes. The commissioner shall adopt regulations pursuant to chapter 54 to carry out the provisions of this section, including but not limited to requirements for agreements to use vacant public land for gardening, agricultural purposes or agricultural restoration purposes, establishment of a fee for such permit, except that no fee shall be charged for gardening permits, and requirements for the use of such land for agricultural purposes based on competitive open bidding. Permits shall be for a period prescribed by the commissioner but shall not exceed ten years from the date of issuance. After such period permit holders may apply for a new permit or renewal of the permit. Applicants shall submit a plan for such use and shall agree to maintain the land in a condition consistent with such land use plan, and shall agree to abide by regulations adopted by the department pursuant to chapter 54. Failure to carry out the conditions of agreement shall result in the forfeiture of the garden, agriculture or agricultural restoration permit. Any applicant who is granted the use of vacant public land for gardening, agricultural purposes or agricultural restoration purposes shall indemnify and save harmless the state and all of its officers, agents and employees against suits and claims of liability of each name and nature arising out of, or in consequence of the use of vacant public land.

      (b) Any permit issued pursuant to subsection (a) of this section may be terminated by the commissioner, without cause, upon written notice to the permittee.

      (c) A sponsor who has a gardening permit may assess a fee to individual gardeners for the sole purpose of reimbursing such sponsor for costs incurred in land preparation.

      (d) Any payments by the permit holder pursuant to an agreement for the use of state land for agricultural purposes shall be credited in equal shares to the General Fund account of the agency whose land is being used for such purposes and to the Department of Agriculture for the purpose of administering the program.

      (P.A. 75-497, S. 2, 4; P.A. 77-75, S. 2, 3; P.A. 82-310, S. 1, 2; P.A. 83-26; P.A. 05-124, S. 3; P.A. 06-196, S. 153; Oct. Sp. Sess. P.A. 11-1, S. 13.)

      History: P.A. 77-75 added "sponsor" in Subdiv. (2), replaced "person" with "applicant" in hold harmless provision and added Subsecs. (b) and (c) re termination of permits and fees; P.A. 82-310 amended the section to authorize the use of vacant public land for agricultural purposes where before use was restricted to gardening, required the commissioner adopt regulations and establish permit fees and added Subsec. (d) mandating payments be credited to the general fund account of the agency whose land is used for agricultural purposes; P.A. 83-26 amended Subsec. (a) to require regulations for agricultural use based on competitive open bidding; P.A. 05-124 made a technical change and extended maximum permit period from 7 to 10 years in Subsec. (a) and credited payments by permit holder in equal shares to General Fund and Department of Agriculture for purpose of administering program in Subsec. (d); P.A. 06-196 made a technical change in Subsec. (b), effective June 7, 2006; Oct. Sp. Sess. P.A. 11-1 added provisions re agricultural restoration purposes, effective October 27, 2011.

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      Sec. 22-6r. Certified farmers' markets. Definitions. Sale of farm products at farmers' kiosks and food service establishments. (a) For purposes of this section:

      (1) "Farmers' market" means a cooperative or nonprofit enterprise or association that consistently occupies a given site throughout the season or that occupies a given site for any given day or event and that operates principally as a common marketplace for a group of farmers, at least two of whom are selling Connecticut-grown fresh produce, to sell Connecticut-grown farm products in conformance with the applicable regulations of Connecticut state agencies and where the farm products sold are produced by the participating farmers with the sole intent and purpose of generating a portion of household income;

      (2) "Fresh produce" means fruits and vegetables that have not been processed in any manner;

      (3) "Certified farmers' market" means a farmers' market that is authorized by the commissioner to operate;

      (4) "Farmer's kiosk" means a structure or area located within a certified farmers' market used by a farm business to conduct sales of Connecticut-grown farm products;

      (5) "Connecticut-grown" means produce and other farm products that have a traceable point of origin within Connecticut;

      (6) "Farm" has the meaning ascribed to it in subsection (q) of section 1-1;

      (7) "Farm products" means any fresh fruits, vegetables, mushrooms, nuts, shell eggs, honey or other bee products, maple syrup or maple sugar, flowers, nursery stock and other horticultural commodities, livestock food products, including meat, milk, cheese and other dairy products, food products of aquaculture, as defined in subsection (q) of section 1-1, including fish, oysters, clams, mussels and other molluscan shellfish taken from the waters of the state or tidal wetlands, products from any tree, vine or plant and their flowers, or any of the products listed in this subdivision that have been processed by the participating farmer, including, but not limited to, baked goods made with farm products.

      (b) A farmer's kiosk at a certified farmers' market shall be considered an extension of the farmer's business and regulations of Connecticut state agencies relating to the sale of farm products on a farm shall govern the sale of farm products at a farmer's kiosk.

      (c) Except as provided in section 22-6s, a farmer offering farm products for sale at a certified farmers' market shall obtain and maintain any license required to sell such products.

      (d) A food service establishment, as defined in section 19-13-B42 of the regulations of Connecticut state agencies, may purchase farm products that have been produced and are sold in conformance with the applicable regulations of Connecticut state agencies at a farmers' market, provided such establishment requests and obtains an invoice from the farmer or person selling farm products. The farmer or person selling farm products shall provide to the food service establishment an invoice that indicates the source and date of purchase of the farm products at the time of the sale.

      (e) Section 22-6g or this section shall not supersede the provisions of any state or local health and safety laws, regulations or ordinances.

      (P.A. 06-52, S. 1; P.A. 07-252, S. 59; P.A. 08-184, S. 9; P.A. 10-103, S. 1; P.A. 11-191, S. 2.)

      History: P.A. 06-52 effective May 8, 2006; P.A. 07-252 amended Subsec. (a)(1) to include sale of fresh produce to food service establishments within definition of "farmers' market", designated existing provisions of Subsec. (c) as Subsec. (c)(1) and added Subsec. (c)(2) to require food service establishments to request and obtain invoice from the farmer or person selling fresh produce that indicates source and date of purchase of the fresh produce at time of sale, effective July 12, 2007; P.A. 08-184 amended Subsec. (a)(1) to redefine "farmers' market" by replacing provision re sale to consumers and food service establishments with provision re sale "in conformance with the applicable regulations of Connecticut state agencies", redesignated existing Subsecs. (c)(1) and (c)(2) as new Subsecs. (c) and (d), amended new Subsec. (d) by substituting "farm products" for "fresh produce" and providing that food service establishment may purchase farm products that have been produced and are sold in conformance with applicable state regulations at a farmers' market, and redesignated existing Subsec. (d) as Subsec. (e), effective June 12, 2008; P.A. 10-103 amended Subsec. (a)(1) by redefining "farmers' market", effective June 2, 2010; P.A. 11-191 amended Subsec. (c) by adding exception re provisions of Sec. 22-6s, effective July 13, 2011.

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      Sec. 22-6s. Operation of food service establishment by a farmer at a certified farmers' market. (a) For purposes of this section: (1) "Certified farmers' market" has the same meaning as provided in section 22-6r, and (2) "food service establishment" has the same meaning as provided in section 19-13-B42 of the regulations of Connecticut state agencies.

      (b) Any permit or license to operate a food service establishment that is issued by a municipal health department or health district to a farmer for the purpose of such farmer's participation in a certified farmers' market within the jurisdiction of such municipal health department or health district shall be valid for the purpose of operating a food service establishment at any certified farmers' market in the state, provided (1) such operation is in accordance with the menu items and food preparation processes approved by such issuing municipal health department or health district, or (2) such operation utilizes menu items or food preparation processes that are substantially similar to the menu items and food preparation processes approved by such issuing municipal health department or health district. Not later than fourteen days prior to commencing the operation of a food service establishment in a municipality that is within the jurisdiction of a municipal health department or health district that did not issue a permit or license to such farmer, a notice of intent to commence such operation shall be sent by such farmer to the municipal health department or health district with such jurisdiction. Such notice shall contain a copy of the municipal health department or health district permit or license issued in accordance with this section and a copy of any food service plan developed as part of the application for such permit or license. Any permit or license issued in accordance with the provisions of this section shall be valid for the duration of the calendar year in which such permit or license was issued.

      (c) Any local director of health may take any regulatory action such director deems necessary against any farmer who operates a food service establishment within the jurisdiction of such health department or district, as applicable, in order to ensure that such farmer is in compliance with the Public Health Code, provided no local director of health shall require any farmer to apply for or purchase a permit or license to operate a food service establishment if such farmer holds a valid permit or license issued by another municipal health department or health district and is in compliance with the provisions of subsection (b) of this section.

      (d) Any farmer who operates a food service establishment in a certified farmers' market in accordance with this section and the menu items and food preparation processes approved by the municipal health department or health district that issued such permit or license, or who utilizes menu items or food preparation processes that are substantially similar to the menu items and food preparation processes approved by such issuing municipal health department or health district, shall be exempt from the provisions of any ordinance of any municipality or health district concerning the operation of a food service establishment. No municipal health department or health district shall require any farmer who applies for a permit or license to operate a food service establishment at a certified farmers' market to submit information regarding such farmer's ability to comply with any ordinance of any municipality or health district concerning the operation of such food service establishment.

      (P.A. 11-191, S. 1.)

      History: P.A. 11-191 effective July 13, 2011.

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      Sec. 22-26e. Governor's Council for Agricultural Development. (a) There is hereby established a Governor's Council for Agricultural Development for advisory purposes only, consisting of the following members: (1) The Commissioner of Agriculture, who shall serve as the chairperson of the council, (2) the dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at The University of Connecticut, or the dean's designee, (3) the chairperson of the Connecticut Milk Promotion Board, or the chairperson's designee, (4) six members appointed by the Governor, who shall each be actively engaged in agricultural production, (5) one member appointed by the speaker of the House of Representatives, who shall be engaged in agricultural processing, (6) one member appointed by the president pro tempore of the Senate, who shall be engaged in agricultural marketing, (7) one member appointed by the majority leader of the House of Representatives, who shall be engaged in agricultural sales, (8) one member appointed by the majority leader of the Senate, who shall be from a trade association, (9) one member appointed by the minority leader of the House of Representatives, who shall be from the green industry, and (10) one member appointed by the minority leader of the Senate, who shall be actively engaged in agricultural education.

      (b) The council shall make recommendations to the Department of Agriculture on ways to increase the percentage of consumer dollars spent on Connecticut-grown fresh produce and farm products, including, but not limited to, ways to increase the amount of money spent by residents of the state on locally-grown farm products, by 2020, to not less than five per cent of all money spent by such residents on food. The council shall also make recommendations concerning the development, diversification and promotion of agricultural products, programs and enterprises in this state and shall provide for an interchange of ideas from the various commodity groups and organizations represented.

      (c) The council shall meet not less than once per calendar quarter. Any vacancy in the membership of the council shall be filled by the Governor. The members shall serve without compensation or reimbursement for expenses. Any member absent from more than two meetings in a calendar year shall be deemed to have resigned.

      (P.A. 91-307, S. 2, 4; June 30 Sp. Sess. P.A. 03-6, S. 146(e), (f); P.A. 04-189, S. 1; P.A. 11-189, S. 1.)

      History: June 30 Sp. Sess. P.A. 03-6 replaced Commissioner and Department of Agriculture with Commissioner and Department of Agriculture and Consumer Protection, effective July 1, 2004; P.A. 04-189 repealed Sec. 146 of June 30 Sp. Sess. P.A. 03-6, thereby reversing the merger of the Departments of Agriculture and Consumer Protection, effective June 1, 2004; P.A. 11-189 replaced former Subsecs. (a) to (c) with new Subsec. (a) re establishment of the council and its membership, new Subsec. (b) re duty of the council to make recommendations and new Subsec. (c) re meetings of the council, vacancies, compensation of members and absenteeism by members.

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