Gov.-elect Dan Malloy chose someone well known in farming circles to lead the Department of Agriculture. Steve Reviczky, executive director of the Connecticut Farm Bureau Association, was appointed to head the state Department of Agriculture Tuesday by Malloy.
A Coventry resident, Reviczky recently helped Connecticut’s dairy farmers stay in business with a more than $14 million grant to the 147 dairy farms left in the state. The grant under the Community Investment Act came from a $10 increase in local land record fees.
But that grant program sunsets on July 1, 2011 and the state’s dairy farmers are already starting to worry.
However, with Reviczky as the head of the Department of Agriculture some farmers may be breathing a sigh of relief.
“I’m committed to the dairy industry in Connecticut as I am to farmers in general in Connecticut,” Malloy said Tuesday. “At what cost we will bare ultimately to support that industry we will cross that bridge when we get to it, but I am committed to the industry and finding ways to be more supportive of the industry.”
“I would like to see the commissioner support local milk as a easy option for Connecticut purchasers, so they can find a way and we can find a way to be more supportive of the industry,” Malloy added.
Rep. Bryan Hurlburt of Tolland who worked closely with Reviczky said he has every confidence that he will bring about an activist role to the department and improve the state’s farm preservation efforts.
“He’s really been the defacto leader for the last 4 years,” Hurlburt said of Reviczky.
Reviczky grew up on farms. He worked for his maternal grandparents on a dairy farm and later with his paternal grandparents on a chicken farm. He also spent some time working on an egg farm in Ashford. He also worked on a Christmas tree farm for 25 years.
Prior to heading the Connecticut Farm Bureau Reviczky worked as a property agent with the Department of Agriculture’s Farmland Preservation Program. He is also a former Ashford First Selectman.
“Preserving Connecticut’s farmland, increasing the availability of Connecticut grown food and products and helping the state’s family farms thrive have been my priorities and I’m eager to continue that advocacy when I return to the Connecticut Department of Agriculture,” Reviczky said.
“We wish Steve well. He’s done a good job for us,“ Don Tuller president of the Connecticut Farm Bureau said Tuesday.
But one man‘s gain is another man‘s loss.
“I’ve been gritting my teeth this whole election process,” Tuller said knowing he could lose Reviczky after four years.
Tuller said he’s heartened that Malloy engaged even during the campaign on issues impacting farmers. He said the biggest push this year for the bureau will be getting rid of the sunset provision within the Community Investment Act, which helps subsidize dairy farms and farmland preservation.
Malloy said he was not considering consolidating the Agriculture Department with any other state agency.