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Governor Malloy visits Ekonk Hill Turkey Farm

By John Penney and James Mosher, Norwich Bulletin (11/14/12)

  DECEMBER 14, 2012 --

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy visited Sterling’s Ekonk Hill Turkey Farm, part of a tour of Eastern Connecticut farms on Nov. 13.  (Ekonk Hill Turkey Farm is owned and operated by the Hermonot family, members of Ekonk Grange No. 89 in Sterling).

After walking portions of the 70 acre farm, Malloy took a tour of lands that Woodmansee Farms in Preston is bringing back into production through a state program that matches farmer spending 50 percent up to $20,000. Woodmansee Farms co-owner Clark Woodmansee III, who also owns farms in Hampton and Scotland, lead a pickup truck tour of three different parcels measuring about 12 acres that have qualified for the program.

“It’s been a great education for me,” Malloy said following the tour. “We’re going to keep doing what we’re doing to be helpful.” 

Woodmansee and his workers, who include his son, Clark IV, have cleared trees and brush to make the land suitable for corn, hay and pasture.

 The farmland restoration program was part of a 2011 “jobs bill” that Malloy and Democratic and Republican leaders of the General Assembly supported. About $1 million of the $5 million allocated has been spent in the first year of the program, said Agriculture Commissioner Steven Reviczky, who was part of the Preston tour. There are currently 46 restoration projects statewide, said Reviczky, who is an Ashford native.

The aim of the program is to return thousands of acres to production and boost harvests of Connecticut farms, the commissioner said. “It’s all good stuff,” Reviczky said.

Woodmansee, who owns has about 250 Holstein dairy cows on his 300-acre, fourth-generation Preston farm, said he was impressed with the governor’s agriculture ideas.  “He’s sincerely interested,” Woodmansee said. “He certainly did ask the right questions.” 

The tours were part of Malloy’s push to promote state-based farming.

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