Farm safety top priority with farm tourism on the rise

Connecticut officials are joining other states in educating local farmers about how to mitigate public health risks as more people visit their farms.

State and federal officials are holding a conference Wednesday in Hartford to discuss topics ranging from preventing E. coli outbreaks to safely preparing food on the farm.

The state's latest push comes after dozens of young children and adults were infected with E. coli in March after visiting a Lebanon goat dairy farm. Officials believe visitors were sickened after coming in close contact with goats.

The state Department of Agriculture says many farmers aren't aware of the risks.

Some states, such as Vermont, regularly hold classes to help farmers who participate in agritourism, a broad term that can refer to anything from corn mazes to pick-your-own strawberries.