Southold, NY - October 21, 2014 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced $17.6 million to protect more than 6,400 acres of farmland across New York State, which will maintain the land’s use for agricultural purposes and keep the land free from future development. The funds, which are made available through the Farmland Protection Implementation Program, will help preserve 21 farms in 12 counties across the state, and bring the total acreage under the program to approximately 59,000 acres.
“Farming supports jobs, businesses and economic activity in communities across New York, making it a major part of this state’s economy, as well a rich part of our heritage,” Governor Cuomo said. “As interest in our New York grown food and beverages continues to rise, this funding will ensure that this farmland will be preserved and a part of this critically important industry for generations to come.”
The Farmland Protection Implementation Program provides funds to protect viable farmland from conversion to non-farm uses through the use of perpetual conservation easements or shorter-term lease of development rights. Since 1996, New York has awarded nearly $195 million for farmland protection projects, assisting 223 projects with local partners in 29 counties.
Funds for the Farmland Protection Implementation Program are administered by the State Department of Agriculture and Markets. Municipalities, counties, soil and water conservation districts and not-for-profit conservation organizations, or land trusts, were eligible to apply for individual grants under the Round 13 Farmland Protection Implementation Grants competitive Request for Proposals. Farms protected under the program remain taxable.
Senate Agriculture Chair Senator Patty Ritchie, said “According to the USDA, roughly 500,000 acres of farmland were lost to development in New York over the past decade. One of the biggest components to ensuring the agriculture industry continues to grow, is making sure there is available land for our state’s hardworking farmers, as well as young farmers who are looking to pursue agricultural careers. I applaud the Governor for his ongoing commitment to New York’s agriculture industry, as well as this most recent investment in the protection of farmlands across our state.”
Assemblyman Bill Magee, Chair of the State Assembly Agriculture Committee, said “Preservation of farmland is a crucial step in supporting agriculture as an economic engine for New York State. Governor Cuomo’s commitment to our farms through The Farmland Protection Implementation Program will help to contribute to the supply of locally sourced farm products, ensuring the continuance of the local agricultural industry, while preserving a crucial resource for New York State.”
State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “Farmland protection is important because New York is home to some of the best agricultural land in the country. When people drive by a working farm they are not only looking at beautiful scenery, but also economic development at its core. Farms are teeming with economic activity and it’s imperative that we protect the state’s farmland for the next generation of New Yorkers. Today’s announcement by Governor Cuomo is a huge step in preserving the most valuable resource that exists for farmers.”
State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens said, “Farms play a vital role in preserving lands that may otherwise be developed, and agricultural lands serve as an important buffer for wildlife habitat and natural resources, as well as providing stopover sites for migratory birds. This significant investment to preserve thousands of acres of farmland reflects Governor Cuomo’s commitment to our state’s agricultural community and will also achieve critical environmental goals.”
The 21 recipients receiving funding through the Farmland Protection Implementation Program are listed by economic development region below:
Agricultural Stewardship Association (Town of White Creek, Washington County; Town of Hoosick, Rensselaer) - $904,246 - This land trust will permanently protect Landview Farms, a 611-acre dairy operation which helps to buffer Little White Creek.
Agricultural Stewardship Association (Town of Brunswick, Rensselaer County) - $340,651 - This land trust will permanently protect Homestead Farms, a 166-acre organically-grown vegetable Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) operation that also sells grass-fed beef, pastured poultry and cut flowers. Homestead Farms helps to buffer the Quacken Kill, a stream that supports a spawning native trout population. Scenic Hudson Land Trust will contribute $113,551 towards this project.
Agricultural Stewardship Association (Town of Hoosick, Rensselaer County) - $42,215 - This land trust will lease the development rights for five years on the Berle Farm, a 604-acre farm operation featuring organic vegetables, beef, grains, popcorn, apples and dairy. The Agricultural Stewardship Association will contribute $14,072 towards this project.
Columbia Land Conservancy (Town of Ancram, Columbia County) - $1,010,026 - This land trust will permanently protect Ronnybrook Farm, a 212-acre dairy operation with a milk processing facility. Scenic Hudson Land Trust will contribute $324,674 toward this project.
Saratoga PLAN (Town of Stillwater, Saratoga County) - $844,613 - This land trust will permanently protect property as part of Welcome Stock Farm, a 556-acre dairy operation that borders the Saratoga National Historic Park and a portion of the Old Champlain Canal. The Open Space Institute will contribute $260,000 and the Town of Stillwater will contribute an additional $22,000 towards this project.
Saratoga PLAN (Town of Ballston, Saratoga County) - $968,471 - This land trust will permanently protect the Wm. H. Buckley Farm, a 260-acre livestock operation, which includes an onsite farm-store, café, and butcher shop.
Town of Clifton Park (Saratoga County) - $70,826 - The Town will lease the development rights for five years on Lindsey Orchard Farm, a 253-acre orchard. The Town of Clifton Park will contribute $23,609 towards this project.
Town of Clifton Park (Saratoga County) - $18,746 - The Town will lease the development rights for five years on the Miller Farm, an 82-acre field crop and orchard operation. The Town of Clifton Park will contribute $6,249 towards this project.
Cazenovia Preservation Foundation (Towns of Cazenovia and Fenner, Madison County) - $1,561,000 - This land trust will permanently protect Pushlar Farms, a 569-acre dairy operation. The farm buffers Chittenango Creek, a stream that supports a spawning native trout population.
Cortland County (Town of Homer) - $2,000,000 - The County will permanently protect Peaceful Valley Farm, an 818-acre dairy, produce and timber operation. The farm helps to buffer the Cortland-Homer-Preble sole-source aquifer, which provides the majority of drinking water to county residents, and also buffers the Tioughnioga River and Cold Brook.
Cortland County (Town of Preble) - $936,260 - The County will permanently protect Gladtime Farms, a 145-acre property that is used to grow feed for a local dairy operation. This property helps to buffer the Cortland-Homer-Preble sole-source aquifer, which provides the majority of drinking water to county residents, and also buffers Tully Lake.
New York Agricultural Land Trust (Town of Pompey, Onondaga County) - $1,579,505 - This land trust will permanently protect a total of 616 acres comprised of several properties together operated as Palladino Farms, a cash crop operation. Continuous flowing natural springs on the properties, including one deed-protected spring dating back to the 1800s, help ensure a high quality base flow of water into two nearby creeks that support spawning native trout populations.
Finger Lakes Land Trust (Town of Canandaigua, Ontario County) - $2,000,000 - This land trust will permanently protect Catalpa Farms, a 596-acre crop farm whose crop rotation consists of grain corn, soybeans, winter wheat, alfalfa hay and clover hay. Catalpa Farms includes onsite grain facilities capable of storing in excess of 100,000 bushels. The Town of Canandaigua will contribute $29,800 towards this project.
Genesee Valley Conservancy (Town of Leicester, Livingston County) - $552,545 - This land trust will permanently protect Moore Farms, a 475-acre cash crop operation. Moore Farms buffers Beards Creek and Little Beards Creek.
Genesee Valley Conservancy (Town of Geneseo, Livingston County) - $330,881 - This land trust will permanently protect Pleasant Hill Farm, a 221-acre dairy operation. Protection of Pleasant Hill Farm will add to the more than 5,600 acres already permanently protected by Genesee Valley Conservancy within the Town of Geneseo.
Town of Southold (Suffolk County) - $837,827 - The Town will permanently protect a 28-acre vineyard and winery. The farm is along the eastern edge of a 240-acre block of actively farmed and preserved agricultural land. The Town will contribute $1,008,000 towards this project.
Town of Southold (Suffolk County) - $516,448 - The Town will permanently protect a 17-acre vineyard and winery. The farm adjoins a 110-acre block of actively farmed preserved agricultural land. The Town will contribute $612,000 towards this project.
Dutchess Land Conservancy (Town of Milan, Dutchess County) - $347,850 - This land trust will permanently protect Great Song Farm, an 88-acre Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) and farm store. The farm helps to buffer two tributaries and one sub-tributary to the Saw Kill. Dutchess Land Conservancy will contribute $51,625 towards this project.
Dutchess Land Conservancy (Town of Pine Plains, Dutchess County) - $1,278,338 - This land trust will permanently protect Schultz Hill Farms, a 183-acre dairy operation. Schultz Hill Farms helps to buffer one sub-tributary to Shekomeko Creek, a stream that supports a spawning native trout population. Scenic Hudson Land Trust will contribute $405,162 and the Dutchess Land Conservancy will contribute $5,000 toward this project.
Orange County Land Trust (Town of Hamptonburgh, Orange County) - $931,800 - This land trust will permanently protect a total of 142 acres of properties jointly operated as Windfall Farms, a vegetable operation. The farm helps to buffer Beaverdam Brook and lies within the Northern Wallkill Priority Area designated for farmland protection by this land trust. Scenic Hudson Land Trust will contribute $300,000 towards this project.
Scenic Hudson Land Trust (Town of Cornwall, Orange County) - $531,900 - This land trust will permanently protect Jones Farm, an 86-acre fruit-vegetable-hay operation with onsite bakery, gift shop, cold storage and kitchen. Jones Farm helps to buffer the adjoining Hudson Highlands Nature Museum. Scenic Hudson Land Trust will contribute $118,126 and the Hudson Highlands Land Trust will also contribute $100,000 towards this project.
Total Round 13 New York State Farmland Protection Funding: $17,604,148
Photo by Colin Brough via Free Images