Date of Completion

Winter 12-10-2021

Thesis Advisor(s)

Eleanor Ouimet, Alexia Smith

Honors Major



Agricultural and Resource Economics | Anthropology | Environmental Studies


The town of Mansfield has a long history within the agricultural sector of Connecticut, from producing the first successful silk mill in the state to housing Mountain Dairy, a dairy supplier which sells to local consumers. This paper examines the history and progress of agricultural land usage within Mansfield, beginning with an overview of farmland in the town’s first century and ending with the current status of resident farms. At the start of settlement by English colonists in the 1700s, the town was deforested to make space for farms, housing, and general expansion. Moving forward to the 20th century, industrialization led to a migration towards larger cities for jobs, resulting in a regrowth of forest over this newly converted farmland and a subsequent decline in the amount of agricultural land available. Following the agricultural trends of the previous century, recent history, which will be categorized as the past thirty to thirty five years, has continued to see a decrease in the amount of land devoted to agricultural processes within Mansfield. The majority of Mansfield’s remaining agricultural land is dedicated to livestock use for dairy and beef production. Mansfield’s current agricultural landscape can be explained through the positioning of Mansfield and its own history within recent New England agricultural trends and values. Finally, this paper calls for a multifunctional approach to farmland conservation in order to simultaneously preserve and progress agricultural land within the town.