R 254
2017 -- S 0908
Enacted 05/17/2017

S E N A T E   R E S O L U T I O N

Introduced By: Senators Sosnowski, Ruggerio, Algiere, Lombardi, and Archambault
Date Introduced: May 17, 2017

     WHEREAS, The basis of the American economy at its founding, and for many years
thereafter, was rooted in an agrarian society, an important legacy for Americans to remember; and
     WHEREAS, Agriculture as an industry has actively pursued new methods and
technologies which not only increase productivity, but also conserve natural resources.
Agriculture contributes to environmentally friendly efforts by producing crops suitable for
making biodegradable plastics, by recycling chemical containers, feed bags and food by-products;
     WHEREAS, The first Agriculture Day was celebrated in 2001, making this year the 16th
annual Agriculture Day in Rhode Island; and
     WHEREAS, Rhode Island is home to 1,243 farms, an increase of 44 percent since 2002,
and nearly 70,000 acres in our state are currently devoted to farmland. However, according to the
Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM), the state has lost 80 percent of
its farmland since 1940, more than anywhere else in the nation over the same period of time; and
     WHEREAS, The top agricultural commodities in the state are greenhouse and nursery
products, dairy products, sweet corn, aquaculture (seafood), and apples; and
     WHEREAS, According to the federal Census of Agriculture, Rhode Island has the
highest percentage of beginning farmers in the nation. Beginning farmers are estimated to make
up over 31 percent of all principal farm operators in our state, compared to 25 percent in 2007;
     WHEREAS, In 2002, the average farm size was 56 acres and the median farm size was
24 acres. Today, the number of farms with less than 9 acres has increased and accounts for 35
percent of all farms, while the number of farms with between 10 and 49 acres and between 50 and
179 acres has decreased, and the number of farms with 180 acres or more has increased; and
     WHEREAS, Agriculture is a way of life for many Americans and Rhode Islanders.
Currently, women principal farm operators account for 25 percent of the principal farm operators,
up from 24 percent in 2007, and the average age of the principal operator of a Rhode Island farm
was 56.3 years in 2007, and 56.7 years in 2002; and
     WHEREAS, Rhode Island ranks 3rd with 30.2 percent in a study of Direct Market Sales
for farms in New England States, and 2nd with 10.5 percent in a ranking of Direct Market Sales as
a percent of farm sales; and
     WHEREAS, Agriculture Day and National Agriculture Week provides an opportunity to
highlight the role agriculture plays in supplying safe, abundant and affordable produce and
products; now, therefore be it
     RESOLVED, That this Senate of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations
hereby celebrates Agriculture Day and National Agriculture Week in our State. We moreover
thank the women and men of agriculture who dedicate themselves to providing for all Americans
the most affordable food and fiber supply in the world; and be it further
     RESOLVED, That the Secretary of State be and hereby is authorized and directed to
transmit a duly certified copy of this resolution to Janet Coit, Director Rhode Island Department
of Environmental Management.