HARTFORD — State Rep. David Labriola (R-131) joined his fellow legislators in calling for the creation of a select committee to focus solely on agricultural issues.
“Connecticut farms employ over 20,000 residents and contribute $3.5 billion to the state’s struggling economy. In the region I represent, our farms are the heart of our communities and have tremendous potential to be an engine of job growth,” Labriola said in a news release.
State Rep. Penny Bacchiocchi (R-52) and State Sen. John Kissel (R-7) hosted a press conference Thursday in which they were joined by Labriola, Dean of the University of Connecticut College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Gregory Weidemann and Henry Talmage, the executive director for the Connecticut Farm Bureau and co-chair of the Governor’s Council for Agricultural Development in calling for the committee.
“Creating a select committee on agriculture would help state government to focus more legislative attention to farm communities and their ability to thrive. We need this committee to address the challenges of working farms and encourage legislation that will spur their growth and expansion in the coming years. I want to emphasize that the creation of this committee would come at no additional cost to taxpayers as we could utilize preexisting select committee staffers.” Labriola said in the release.
A major part of the continued success of the agricultural industry is developing a smart and capable workforce. Labriola noted that supporting exceptional vocational-agricultural schools, such as Nonnewaug High School in Woodbury, is crucial to workforce development.