From the American Revolution, before which it was a predominantly agricultural state, until the mid-20th century, Connecticut was primarily an industrial state. The small-scale industries that existed in the 17th century to supply the needs of the early colonists first began to expand and prosper after the revolution. Subsequently, manufacturing expanded rapidly, aided by the abundance of water power, by the availability of raw materials from elsewhere in the country and from abroad, and by the remarkable ingenuity of numerous inventors and business people. By the 2000s Connecticut also had a large services sector. A number of major corporations maintained headquarters in the state, many in Fairfield County, in the southwest. It was the financial sector, however, that contributed the most revenue to Connecticut’s economy, driven in large part by a large insurance industry centered in Hartford.
Most of the farms in Connecticut are sidelines for people who hold other jobs. About half of the farmland is used to raise crops. Most of the rest is pasture for livestock.
The production of poultry and eggs is a leading agricultural activity in the state. Eggs and chickens for distribution in the nearby urban markets are produced on specialized poultry farms. Incubators, brooder houses, and other costly equipment are needed for poultry raising, but fertile soils and flat land are not required. Poultry raising is, therefore, well suited to the farms in the Eastern and Western highlands, though it is concentrated in the Eastern highlands. Dairy farming is another leading agricultural activity. Most of the state’s dairy farmers specialize in the production of milk for urban markets. Beef cattle, sheep, and hogs are also raised on Connecticut farms.
Sales of greenhouse and nursery products are the leading source of farm income in Connecticut. Hay, sweet corn, and tobacco are the most valuable field crops. Tobacco is grown mainly in the Connecticut Valley Lowland. Connecticut Shadegrown, a variety of premium tobacco used for cigar wrappers, is grown under a permanent cover of open-mesh cloth. The cloth, supported several feet above the crop by poles, protects the tobacco from direct sunlight and heavy rains. Other types of tobacco are grown in open fields. Potatoes, hay, and corn are sometimes grown in rotation with tobacco.
Vegetables and fruits are cultivated in the lowlands. Sweet corn is sold directly to markets and consumers rather than processed, and commands a high price because of its freshness. Many other vegetables, raised on farms in the vicinity of the larger cities, are also sold directly to consumers. Apples, grown mainly in the Connecticut Valley Lowland, are the principal fruit crop. "Connecticut" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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