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Around The Grange
CT raised poultry coming to markets soon

By Tina Detelj, WTNH News (10/18/10)

  OCTOBER 31, 2010 --

Everyone talks about buying locally grown, but did you know when you go to your local grocery store that none of the turkeys come from Connecticut. That's about to change.

State Senate President Don Williams (D) was at Ekonk Hill Turkey Farm in Sterling Monday, October 18th, announcing a new law unanimously passed by state legislators, which provides for state inspections of poultry farms.

Up until now the state didn't inspect bird farms and the USDA would only inspect those with at least 20,000 birds. Since Connecticut farms are smaller than that, there are no inspections and no opportunity to expand beyond individual orders.

“We couldn't sell to restaurants,” said Jonathan Hermonot of Ekonk Hill Turkey Farms. “We couldn't sell to wholesale to other stores. All that kind of stuff.”

Right now Hermonot raises about 2,000 turkeys a year that all have to be pre-ordered. Restaurants and local colleges have already contacted him.

“Over the next couple of years there's no reason we can't go to three or four thousand and start ramping up production,” he stated.

An early gift for this farmer who is hoping his turkeys can now make it to more tables this holiday season.

Lawmakers say the law could fatten up the state's 3 billion dollar agricultural industry.

State Senator Don Williams explained, “The feed and all the equipment that's necessary, that they purchase to meet, that need will be purchased in Connecticut.”

Many farmers will now be talking turkey across the state. This new law goes into effect in time for the turkeys at Ekonk Hill to go to market.

The Connecticut “Farms, Foods and Jobs” bill was unanimously passed by the General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Jodi Rell on July 14, 2010.

CT Grange Website Note:  Jonathan Hermonot is a member of Ekonk Community Grange, and is also a member of the CT State Grange Agriculture Committee.


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