Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that more than $376,000 in State Environmental Protection Fund grants will be given to seven counties and six towns to help them develop local agricultural and farmland protection plans. To date, New York State has helped fund agricultural and farmland protection plans in 82 towns and 20 counties.
“Agriculture is a part of New York's rich heritage and remains a vital sector of this state's economy,” Governor Cuomo said. “This funding will help preserve this great legacy by ensuring that land in these communities remain suitable for farming and continue to produce great New York fruits, vegetables and products for years to come."
The six towns receiving grants will use them to develop local farmland protection plans. The towns are required to fund at least 25 percent of the cost of development of their respective plans. Funding for the seven counties will be used either to update an existing plan or develop a new one. Existing plans must be at least 10 years old in order to be eligible for funding. The counties are required to fund at least 50 percent of the cost of their respective plans’ development
Plans must take into account land use codes to ensure zoning and subdivision regulations are “farm friendly” and do not unreasonably restrict agricultural activities. Smart growth principles are also incorporated into future development plans. Local government can play a vital role in farmland protection by ensuring that comprehensive plans and land use regulations contain clear language that support the local agriculture industry.
Municipalities often select planning consultants to help them carry out the scope of work outlined in their funding application. They also select an advisory committee comprised of farmers and concerned citizens to help them develop a protection plan that promotes continued agricultural use in the area. As protection plans are developed, localities identify lands and farms they believe should be protected, considering prime soils, farm activity, development pressure, and possible consequences of conversion to non-farm use.
This is the seventh round of funding for municipal grants, and the fourth round of funding for the county planning grants. Any municipality that is located within a county that has an agricultural and farmland protection board is eligible to apply for the funds. This is an open enrollment program and a grant application is available at the following link: http://www.agriculture.ny.gov/RFPS.html.
State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “The landscape of New York State is constantly changing, but our need for viable land for agriculture has never been more important. These grants will assist local governments in creating plans that protect land for farming while ensuring that growth in their municipalities is properly facilitated. They will also help communities engage in a deliberate and thoughtful process to arrive at the right solution for farmland protection.”
Below is a list of towns receiving funding:
$ 25,000 Town of Alabama (Genesee County)
$ 25,000 Town of Canandaigua (Ontario County)
$ 25,000 Town of Cortlandville (Cortland County)
$ 25,000 Town of Dryden (Tompkins County)
$ 25,000 Town of Oakfield (Genesee County)
$ 25,000 Town of Sparta (Livingston County)
Below is of counties receiving funding:
$ 50,000 Broome County
$ 50,000 Genesee County
$ 35,000 Montgomery County
$ 15,000 Oneida County
$ 25,000 Schoharie County
$ 13,500 St. Lawrence County
$ 38,125 Washington County
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