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Town designates important local soils

By CT Department of Agriculture (1/31/10)

  FEBRUARY 14, 2010 --

New Milford has become the fifth municipality in Connecticut - and the first town in Litchfield County - to officially recognize and designate Local Important Farmland soils.

"Identification of important farmland soils is useful in the management and maintenance of the resource base that supports the productive capacity of American agriculture," said Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) State Conservationist for Connecticut Douglas L. Zehner.

"The designation will help guide the future of New Milford, and provide a tool in the effort to preserve the extensive agricultural lands characterizing the town," said Zehner.

The Town of New Milford established a Farmland Preservation Committee in 2006. The committee inventoried the town's remaining farmland and prioritized five initial farms for preservation.

"We feel this tool offered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service," said New Milford Mayor Patricia Murphy, "will aide us in our planning efforts as we seek to permanently protect these farms; ensuring they remain as working farms to the betterment of the community."

Farmland classification identifies soil map units as prime farm- land, statewide important farmland, or local important farmland. Prime farmland is land that has the best combination of physical and chemical characteristics for producing food, feed, forage, fiber, and oilseed crops and that is available for these uses. Statewide important farmland is land, in addition to prime farmland, that on a statewide extent economically produces high yields of crops when treated and managed according to acceptable farming methods.

Local important farmland is additional farmland of local concern useful for the production of food, feed, fiber, and forage even though these lands are not identified as having national or statewide importance. Inventories of important farmland soils do not constitute a designation of any land area to a specific land use.

Local Important Farmland soils must be identified and officially recognized by local officials and NRCS. The list of all important farmland soils (prime, statewide important, and local important) in Connecticut is maintained by NRCS in the Field Office Technical Guide, and may be accessed through their website at www.ct.nrcs.usda.gov/technical.



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