GOVERNOR PATERSON ANNOUNCES MORE THAN $23 MILLION FOR FARMLAND PRESERVATION

State of New York | Executive Chamber
David A. Paterson | Governor

For Immediate Release: May 13, 2009
Contact: Morgan Hook | morgan.hook@chamber.state.ny.us | 518.474.8418
Contact: Jessica Chittenden | jessica.chittenden@agmkt.state.ny.us | 518.457.3136

GOVERNOR PATERSON ANNOUNCES MORE THAN $23 MILLION FOR
FARMLAND PRESERVATION

Agricultural and Farmland Protection Program to Maintain Nearly 9,000 Acres of Active Farmland

Governor David A. Paterson today announced that the State Agricultural and Farmland Protection Program will provide $23.1 million for the preservation of 8,940 acres of active farmland. The program, administered by the State Department of Agriculture and Markets, assists local municipalities in the purchase of development rights so that land use is restricted for farming purposes. The grants will help to protect 27 farms in 16 counties throughout New York.

“Agriculture is a very important part of New York’s economy and food supply,” Governor Paterson said. “The Farmland Protection Program ensures that our local farmers receive the support they need as they work to keep their farmland productive. In preserving our open space, we also preserve our valuable farming resources, as well as our agricultural tradition.”

New York State Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker said, “While its primary purpose is to protect productive farmland, the Farmland Protection Program also helps safeguard local food production, as well as provide a true economic stimulus to rural communities. By allowing farmers to utilize the equity in their land without selling their assets, the State is encouraging the preservation of not only farmland, but farmers. This is a tremendous program with ancillary benefits that reach every New Yorker and I thank Governor Paterson for his support.”

The Farmland Protection Program provides financial assistance through the Environmental Protection Fund that help counties and towns to support local farmland preservation activities. In doing so, the program provides cost-share funds to municipalities, who in turn purchase the development rights on the farmland to permanently protect it from development and allow farm owners to utilize the equity on their land without selling it. The cost-share ratio is 75 percent state and 25 percent local.

The 2009 Farmland Protection Program will provide the following preservation grants:

    Western New York

    • $549,708 to the Town of Amherst, Erie County
    • $451,808 to the Town of Fayette, Seneca County
    • $367,212 to the Town of Macedon, Wayne County
    • $601,460 to the Town of Ontario, Wayne County
    • $408,155 to the Town of Walworth, Wayne County
    • $420,507 to the Town of Williamson, Wayne County
    • $2,287,152 to Livingston County
    • $1,886,209 to Yates County

    Central New York

    • $451,808 to the Town of Dryden, Tompkins County
    • $205,224 to the Town of Ithaca, Tompkins County
    • $2,322,152 to Cayuga County
    • $2,322,152 to Onondaga County
    • $440,700 to Schuyler County
    Eastern New York

    • $222,716 to the Town of Hoosick, Rensselaer County
    • $470,211 to the Town of Kingsbury, Washington County
    • $2,052,255 to the Town of Saratoga, Saratoga County
    • $579,270 to Clinton County
    • $579,559 to Rensselaer County
    • $627,502 to Washington County
    Hudson Valley

    • $1,758,143 to the Town of Warwick, Orange County
    • $1,939,688 to Dutchess County

    Long Island

    • $530,459 to the Town of Southold, Suffolk County
    • $1,703,820 to Suffolk County

The funds will support five farms that have been in operations for more than 100 years, as well as assist three first-time award recipients. A full description of the projects is available at: http://www.ny.gov/governor/press/pdf/press_0513092.pdf.

Senator Antoine Thompson said: “Preserving our farmland is crucial to the economy of rural and Upstate New York. Supporting the farmers that have made New York State a leader in the agricultural industry should be a priority. I am pleased that the State Agricultural and Farmland Protection Program will be providing funding for the preservation of nearly 9,000 acres of farmland across our State.”

Senator Darrel J. Aubertine said: “Farm preservation is vital to the future of our State. The Farmland Protection Program gives farmers much needed capital to operate their farms and protects this land for farm use at a time when recent studies have predicted a shortage of farmland worldwide. The preservation of almost 9,000 acres of farmland and continued funding for this program protects our economy and will help ensure New York State continues to be an agricultural leader for years to come.”

Assemblyman Robert K. Sweeney, Chair of the Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee, said: “Agriculture is New York’s largest industry, it is vitally important that we preserve acreage that will be used solely for farming. The Agricultural and Farmland Protection Program will help town and county governments across New York secure nearly 9,000 acres for agricultural purposes while preserving open space.”

The Farmland Protection Program is open to all counties that have approved agricultural and farmland protection plans, and to other municipalities that have a local farmland protection plan in place. Preferred projects are those that preserve viable agricultural land, are located in areas facing significant development pressure and serve as a buffer to a significant natural public resource containing an important ecosystem or habitat. The program also considers a farm’s long-term potential to remain in viable agricultural production, the cost of the proposal in relation to the acreage to be protected, and the level of commitment to farmland protection that other local project partners demonstrate.

New York State has 7.6 million acres of farmland with 34,000 farms. Since 1996, New York has awarded more than $173.3 million for farmland protection projects, assisting local governments and their project partners in 29 counties to help protect 72,668 acres on 303 farms. To date, 152 projects have closed, protecting in perpetuity, 29,180 acres of farmland.
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