HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut dairy farmers say they need the state's help to ensure the industry remains financially healthy.

Appearing Tuesday at a meeting of legislators who represent rural parts of the state, several farmers said it is important to protect the Community Investment Act. Funded by a recording fee on municipal land records, the program assists dairy farmers who are financially at the mercy of fluctuating milk prices, which are controlled by the federal government. In past years, lawmakers have raided the fund to help balance the state's budget.

Farmers also spoke of the need for trained workers and help with making expensive equipment purchases.

The number of dairy farms in the state has dropped from about 155 in 2009 to fewer than 100 today.

Lawmakers say they want to help.

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