Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the disbursement of $2,585,377 to complete projects that will permanently protect over 1,000 acres of farmland in Orange, Rensselaer, and Seneca Counties. The funding is provided through the State Environmental Protection Fund and administered by the State Department of Agriculture and Markets. Since their inception, more than $124 million in Farmland Protection Implementation Grants have protected nearly 50,000 acres of land on 214 farms across New York State.
Agriculture and farms are a critical part of our states economy creating jobs for thousands of New Yorkers, Governor Cuomo said. These protection grants will help preserve working farmland so that this vital industry can remain robust for generations to come.
New York Agriculture and Markets Law authorizes a state agricultural and farmland protection program to provide financial and technical assistance to assist counties and municipalities in developing and implementing agricultural and farmland protection plans. The purpose of Farmland Protection Grants is to maintain the economic viability of the states agricultural industry and its supporting land base, while protecting the environmental and landscape preservation issues associated with agriculture.
Proposals were given priority if they preserved viable agricultural land, were located in areas facing significant development pressure and served as a buffer for a significant natural resource such as an ecosystem or wildlife habitat.
The following projects received funding:
State Agriculture Commissioner Darrel J. Aubertine said, Farmland protection is hugely important to New Yorks working landscape and agricultural economy. Thanks to this funding, more than 1,000 acres of valuable farmland will be protected for future generations of farmers.
State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens, said, Governor Cuomo understands that New Yorks agricultural lands are vital to our environment and economy. This EPF grant will keep farmland in productive use, preserving an important part of our States heritage, while also boosting the regional and state economy.
Dean Norton, President of New York Farm Bureau, said, It is imperative that we preserve our family farms in New York State. We all benefit when a farm is productive, providing food and jobs to our communities. New York Farm Bureau appreciates Governors Cuomos attention to the issue of farmland protection. The significant grant money will help keep farmland free from development and available for the next generation of farmers.
For more information on farmland protection in New York State, please visit: http://www.agriculture.ny.gov/AP/agservices/farmprotect.html.