More than 6,400 acres of New York farmland will remain dedicated to agricultural purposes and will be protected from future development thanks $17.6 million made available through the Farmland Protection Implementation Program.
Across New York State, the funds will help preserve 21 farms in 12 counties including Saratoga, Washington, Rensselaer, Columbia, Madison, Cortland, Onondaga, Ontario, Livingston, Suffolk, Dutchess, and Orange Counties.
“Saratoga PLAN was awarded a total of $1.81 million to purchase and permanently retire development rights on the Wm. H. Buckley Farm in the Town of Ballston ($968,471) and Cocozzo Farm in the Town of Stillwater ($844,613), which are being leveraged by other public and private funds totaling $420,000,” said Emily Oswald, Community Relations Coordinator for Saratoga PLAN.
Saratoga PLAN will retain about 3 percent of the total funding from all sources, a portion of which goes to PLAN’s Stewardship Fund, ensuring the organization’s ability to always uphold the easements.
“The grants will be used to purchase and permanently retire development rights on the two farms, ensuring that their fertile fields will be available for farming for future generations,” Oswald added.
Town of Stillwater Supervisor Ed Kinowski is grateful to Saratoga PLAN’s work to secure the farmland PDR grant in their town.
“The grant for the Cocozzo Farm will help to complete a large portion of our internal trail system and contribute significantly to the Champlain Canalway Trail System,” said Supervisor Kinowski, “I can’t thank Saratoga PLAN enough for all the time and work the organization has dedicated to accomplishing these important grants. I can easily say Stillwater’s Open Space and trail system progress is mostly due to PLAN’s commitment to a brighter future for Saratoga County and our neighbors.”
In addition to the farms preserved through Saratoga PLAN, two farms in Clifton Park, NY, also based in Saratoga County, will benefit from the conservation funds. The Town of Clifton Park received two awards for temporary conservation easements. With these easements, the Town of Clifton Park will lease the development rights of the Lindsey Orchard Farm and Miller Farm for five years while working towards the permanent retirement of development rights.
Three other Capital Region farms will benefit from the grants. With assistance from the Agricultural Stewardship Association, $904,246 will be used to permanently protect Landview Farms a 611-acre dairy operation in the Town of White Creek, Washington County and Town of Hoosick, Rensselaer County.
Homestead Farms, a 166-acre organically-grown vegetable Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) operation that also sells grass-fed beef, pastured poultry and cut flowers, located in the Town of Brunswick in Rensssealer County will receive $340,651. The farm buffers the Quacken Kill, a stream that supports a spawning native trout population. Scenic Hudson Land Trust will contribute an additional $113,551 towards this project.
Berle Farm, also in Rensselaer County received $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.
One Columbia county farm, Ronnybrook Farm in the Town of Ancram, a 212-acre dairy farm will benefit from a $1,010,026 grant awarded to the Columbia Land Conservancy. 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.
Since 1996, New York has awarded nearly $195 million for farmland protection projects, assisting 223 projects with local partners in 29 counties.
“The state funding is instrumental to our ability to undertake these farmland conservation projects, which provide many long-term benefits to the community,” said Maria Trabka, Saratoga PLAN Executive Director. “The conservation of the Wm. H. Buckley Farm and Cocozzo Farm not only protects vital natural resources, but enhances the region’s economic strength. New York State farms can only feed 30 percent of its population now, and we’re losing farms at a rate of two per week. Protecting these two farms will ensure a secure source of locally produced food for the future, in the fastest growing county in New York State.”
For information on the conservation services offered by Saratoga PLAN and the Agricultural Stewardship Association, contact information is provided below.
• Agricultural Stewardship Association, 2531 State Route 40, Greenwich NY 12834; 518-692-7285; email: email@example.com; www.agstewardship.org
• Columbia Land Conservancy, Inc., 49 Main Street, Chatham, NY 12037; 518-392-5252; email: http://clctrust.org/
• Saratoga PLAN, 112 Spring Street, Room 202, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866; 518-587-5554; firstname.lastname@example.org ; www.saratogaplan.org
To read more about the funds awarded to New York State visit www.governor.ny.gov/press/10202014-farmland .
To learn more about the Agricultural and Farmland Protection program, which helps counties and municipalities plan for the future of agriculture in their communities by funding programs to implement those plans to keep agriculture strong and farmland in production visit www.agriculture.ny.gov/ap/agservices/farmprotect.html .