Substitute House Bill No. 6884

Public Act No. 99-110

An Act Concerning Minor Revisions to the Powers and Duties of the Commissioner of Agriculture.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 22-3 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) The Commissioner of Agriculture shall evaluate all information and statistics collected by the department with regard to agriculture for the purpose of recommending methods to be pursued, the needs and wants of practical husbandry and the adaptation of agricultural products to soil, climate and markets, and shall determine the policies best adapted to encourage and promote the development of agriculture within the state. The commissioner may appoint qualified persons to make studies and recommendations concerning matters of interest to the commissioner.

(b) As used in this section "agricultural land" means any land in the state suitable with reference to soil types, existing and past use of such land for agricultural purposes and other relevant factors, for the cultivation of plants, for the production of human food and fiber or other useful and valuable plant products and for the production of animals, livestock and poultry useful to man and the environment and may include adjacent pastures, wooded land, natural drainage areas and other adjacent open areas; "development rights" means the rights of the fee simple owner of agricultural land to develop, construct on, sell, lease or otherwise improve such land for uses that result in rendering such land no longer agricultural land, but shall not be construed to include: (1) The rights of the fee owner of agricultural land to develop, construct on, sell, lease or otherwise improve the agricultural land to preserve, maintain, operate or continue such land as agricultural land, including but not limited to, construction thereon of residences for persons, farm buildings, roadside stands for retail sale of food products and ornamental plants, facilities for the storing of equipment and products or processing thereof or such other improvements thereon as may be directly or incidentally related to the agricultural operation or (2) the rights of the fee owner to provide for the extraction of minerals, gravel or like natural elements.

(c) The commissioner shall (1) obtain an inventory of all land in the state which, without substantial removal of structures on such land, meets the definition of agricultural land [as defined] provided in subsection (b) of this section, (2) formulate criteria for the designation of lands for which development rights [as defined in subsection (b)] may, in the future, be acquired by the state, including consideration of cost of acquisition, and (3) assist any municipality, upon written request, in identifying those agricultural lands in such municipality deserving of preservation for agricultural purposes.

[(d) The Commissioner of Agriculture shall adopt regulations in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54 for the extraction of minerals, gravel and like natural elements and the preservation and restoration of such lands as agricultural lands. In adopting such regulations, the commissioner shall give due regard to the quantity and quality of the natural resource base necessary for agricultural production, including but not limited to, soil characteristics, geology and hydrology. This subsection shall not prohibit any municipality from adopting regulations more stringent than the regulations adopted by the commissioner.]

[(e)] (d) The joint committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to agriculture shall review and evaluate at least quarterly the criteria and procedures regarding the inventory of agricultural land made in accordance with the provisions of this section. The commissioner shall report at least quarterly [his] the findings made in accordance with the provisions of this section to said committee.

Sec. 2. Section 22-39 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

[(a) The Commissioner of Agriculture shall adopt suitable regulations in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54 to enforce the provisions of sections 22-27 to 22-38, inclusive.]

[(b)] Any person who obstructs or hinders the Commissioner of Agriculture or any of [his] the commissioner's assistants in the performance of their duties under the provisions of sections 22-27 to 22-38, inclusive, shall be fined not less than ten dollars nor more than one hundred dollars.

Sec. 3. Section 22-175 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

[(a) Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, the] The commissioner shall inspect regularly and as frequently as possible the dairy farms and milk plants from which milk is regularly shipped to dealers within the state for sale therein in fluid form. [He] The commissioner shall endeavor to maintain a sufficient number of dairy farms and dairy plants subject to regular inspections and approved for shipments of milk to be sold in fluid form in Connecticut markets so that consumers of the state may be assured of an adequate supply of fluid milk at all times. The commissioner shall have the right to inspect the producing dairy farm or the processing dairy plant and to sample the product of such dairy farm or dairy plant at any time or place. The expense incurred for the inspecting of any dairy farm, whether within or without the state, which produces fresh milk for daily use in this state shall be borne by the state. The expense incurred for the inspection of dairy farms and dairy plants which produce or process milk which is to be used for the production of cream for this state shall be borne by the cream source permittee.

[(b) Any processing plant which ships only aseptically processed and ultrapasteurized milk and milk products need not be regularly inspected by the commissioner but may be inspected at his discretion. The Milk Regulation Board shall adopt regulations, in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54, concerning the production, transportation, processing, handling, sampling, examination, grading, labeling, sale and distribution of aseptically processed and ultrapasteurized milk and milk products.]

Sec. 4. Section 22-277 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) As used in this section, "livestock animal" means any hooved animal raised for domestic or commercial use. The Commissioner of Agriculture shall supervise commission sales stables where livestock animals are sold at public auctions. Any person, firm or corporation engaged in the business of selling livestock animals at such auctions or sales shall annually apply to said commissioner for a license upon a form to be prescribed by [him] the commissioner. The fee for each such license shall be one hundred fifty dollars, payable to said commissioner. Each such license shall be issued for the period of one year from July first and may be revoked for cause. If, in the judgment of the commissioner, any provision of this section has been violated, [he] the commissioner shall send notice by registered or certified mail to the licensee, who shall be given a hearing, and, if violation is proven, [his] the license shall be revoked. If a license to deal in livestock, issued to any person, firm or corporation by another state, has been suspended or revoked by such state within five years next preceding the date of issuance or renewal of a license to such person, firm or corporation under the provisions of this section, such suspension or revocation shall constitute just cause for revocation under this section. All dairy animals to be sold at such auction shall be segregated from beef animals prior to such sales. The sale of dairy animals shall precede the sale of those assigned for slaughter. All bovines more than three hundred pounds in weight, except dairy and breeding animals, that are delivered to a sale shall be branded with the letter "S" in a conspicuous place by the operator of the sale or [his] the operator's representative. All dairy and breeding animals from within the state arriving at a sale shall be from a herd that: (1) Is under state supervision for the control of brucellosis and tuberculosis and that has been tested for brucellosis and tuberculosis less than fourteen months before the sale, (2) has been tested for tuberculosis less than fourteen months before the sale and is regularly tested under the brucellosis ring test program of the Department of Agriculture or (3) is certified to be brucellosis-free under the program established pursuant to section 22-299a. All dairy and breeding animals arriving at a sale from outside the state shall comply with section 22-304 and be accompanied by a health certificate issued by the livestock official of the state of their origin and by a permit from the commissioner. All animals offered for dairy or breeding purposes over six months of age shall be identified by an official ear tag, a tattoo or by registration papers. All female dairy or breeding animals over six months of age shall have been calfhood vaccinated against brucellosis. Animals consigned for slaughter shall be sold only to owners or agents of slaughtering establishments and moved directly to such slaughtering establishments for immediate slaughter. All stables and sales rings shall be kept clean and shall be suitably disinfected prior to each sale. The provisions of this section shall not apply to the sale of an individual herd at an auction conducted by the owner thereof. Any person, or any officer or agent of any corporation, who violates any provision of this section or who obstructs or attempts to obstruct the Commissioner of Agriculture or [his] the commissioner's deputy or [any of his] assistants in the performance of [his] their duty, shall be fined not more than two hundred dollars or imprisoned not more than thirty days or both.

[(b) Any person, firm or corporation licensed by the Department of Agriculture to operate a commission sale in which livestock animals are sold for slaughter shall be equipped with scales to weigh such animals and all such animals sold for slaughter shall be sold by weight. The commissioner shall adopt regulations prescribing the type of scales, method of recording weights and the issuing of scale weight tickets. Such regulations shall be in conformity with rules and regulations established by the Packers and Stockyards Administration of the United States Department of Agriculture. The accuracy of such scales shall be tested by the Weights and Measures Division of the Department of Consumer Protection.]

[(c)] (b) Any person, firm or corporation licensed pursuant to subsection [(b)] (a) of this section shall make, execute and thereafter maintain on file with the Commissioner of Agriculture a bond to the state, satisfactory to the commissioner, to secure the performance of obligations incurred in this state or in lieu thereof, a bond filed with the United States Department of Agriculture in the amount as required herein, pursuant to the provisions of the Packers and Stockyards Act (7 USC 181 et seq.). The amount of each such bond shall be based on the amount of one average sale of such person, firm or corporation. One average sale shall be computed by dividing the total yearly gross receipts from the sale of all livestock during the preceding twelve months by the number of sales during such time, provided the number of sales used to compute one average sale shall not be greater than one hundred thirty. If the amount of one average sale is ten thousand dollars or less the amount of the bond shall be ten thousand dollars. If the amount of one average sale is more than ten thousand dollars but not more than twenty-six thousand dollars, the amount of the bond shall be not less than the next multiple of two thousand dollars above such amount. If the amount of one average sale is more than twenty-six thousand dollars but not more than thirty thousand dollars, the amount of such bond shall be thirty thousand dollars. If the amount of one average sale is more than thirty thousand dollars, the amount of the bond shall be not less than the next multiple of five thousand dollars above such amount.

[(d) The commissioner shall adopt, in accordance with chapter 54, regulations to implement the provisions of this section.]

Sec. 5. Section 22-26h of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) As used in this section:

(1) "Commissioner" means the Commissioner of Agriculture;

(2) "Agricultural technology" means an application of knowledge which results in a higher standard of living for both consumers and producers of agricultural or aquacultural products and may include, but shall not be limited to, a device or process which improves crops or animal strains, saves agricultural or aquacultural labor, improves cultural practices or controls diseases and pests on plants or animals; and

(3) "Critical agricultural technology" means an agricultural or aquacultural technology which embodies a significant technical advance, has the potential to bring about significant improvements to plant, human or animal health, is generally applicable at the precommercial stage, and, if adopted, would result in a favorable rate of social and economic return.

(b) There is hereby established an Agricultural Technology Development Advisory Board which shall consist of not more than twenty members. The commissioner shall be the chairperson of said board. The Governor shall appoint ten members of the board from a list provided by the commissioner of persons who represent professions or businesses which are related to agricultural technology development. The Commissioner of Economic and Community Development, the director of the Connecticut Agriculture Experiment Station and the president of The University of Connecticut, or their designees, shall be members of said board. The president pro tempore of the Senate, the speaker of the House of Representatives, the majority leader of the Senate, the majority leader of the House of Representatives, the minority leader of the Senate, and the minority leader of the House of Representatives shall each appoint one member of the board. The appointing authority shall fill any vacancy in the office of an appointed member. The tenure of the members on the board shall be in accordance with the provisions of section 4-1a. The board shall meet no less than once every calendar [quarter] year. The members of the board shall serve without compensation or reimbursement for expenses. [Any member absent from more than two meetings within one year shall be deemed to have resigned.]

(c) The board shall provide advice to the commissioner concerning agricultural technology and shall develop a state agricultural technology strategy.

(d) The board shall [develop a] review the state agricultural technology strategy which [shall (1) identify] (1) identifies critical agricultural technologies for focused government support, (2) [prioritize] prioritizes such technologies based on trends in global and domestic agricultural problems and the potential for economic benefits, (3) [recommend] recommends effective public and private partnership arrangements for the development and dissemination of agricultural technologies, (4) [recommend] recommends approaches to encourage the commercialization and dissemination of agricultural technologies, with special attention to small and medium-sized businesses, (5) [identify] identifies barriers and incentives to the development, dissemination and trade in agricultural technologies, (6) [recommend] recommends administrative actions to remove barriers to, and create incentives for, the development and dissemination of agricultural technology, and (7) [recommend] recommends administrative actions to promote and assist trade in agricultural technology in this state.

(e) The commissioner shall annually report to the joint standing committees of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to the environment and commerce concerning (1) the activities of the board in the preceding year, (2) the most recently prepared version of the state agricultural technology strategy, (3) any major findings by the board, (4) descriptions of significant research initiatives in agricultural technology, and (5) a listing of all public and private partnerships in areas of critical agricultural technologies, including projects funded by the Department of Economic and Community Development.

(f) The commissioner shall collect and distribute information regarding agricultural technology to improve the economic competitiveness of the agricultural industry in this state. The commissioner shall (1) assist private industry, academic institutions, nonprofit research concerns and government laboratories in developing and commercializing agricultural technologies, [and] (2) facilitate the dissemination, adoption and export of agricultural technologies by improving the information available on new agricultural technologies, (3) support and assist, in cooperation with the heads of other agencies, the development of products-oriented research and demonstration of agricultural technology at the precommercial stage, (4) monitor the research and development of agricultural technology by private industry and provide technical assistance to private industry which is conducting agricultural research, (5) develop and transfer, in cooperation with the heads of other agencies, agricultural technologies and mechanisms to address agricultural problems, (6) develop and maintain a system of collecting and distributing information regarding agricultural technology and provide such information to entities which develop, apply or export agricultural technology, (7) advise other officials, as appropriate, regarding programs and strategies for promoting the development and dissemination of agricultural technology including sources of financial or technical assistance, and (8) consult, as appropriate, with the heads of other state agencies to facilitate the development, application and export of agricultural technologies.

(g) The commissioner shall make information regarding agricultural technology available to any person or group which requests such information. The commissioner shall compile such information and, to the extent feasible, shall integrate such information with other technology databases maintained by the state.

Sec. 6. Section 26-234a of the general statutes is repealed.

Approved June 3, 1999

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