January 15, 2024
Albany, NY

Governor Hochul Announces More Than $5.5 Million Awarded to Protect 2,100 Acres of New York Farmland

Governor Hochul Announces More Than $5.5 Million Awarded to Protect 2,100 Acres of New York Farmland

Seven Projects Across the State will Conserve More than 2,000 Acres of Viable Agricultural Land through the Farmland Protection Program

113,650 Acres of Farmland Protected So Far Across the State

Applications Still Being Accepted for Round 19, Eligible Organizations Can Apply Here

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that more than $5.5 million is being awarded to not-for-profit conservation organizations to protect a total of 2,119 acres of valuable farmland on seven New York State farms through the Farmland Protection Implementation Grants (FPIG) program. This is the second group of conservation easements funded through Round 19 of the program, which is helping to keep agricultural land in production, ensure the long-term viability of New York's farming operations, and strengthen New York's agricultural industry. So far, the FPIG program has helped preserve 113,650 acres of New York farmland through completed conservation easement projects totaling more than $273 million on 385 farms.

“The State’s Farmland Protection program provides funding for conservation easements that protect the very foundation of our agricultural industry,” Governor Hochul said. "This program and its expanded eligibility and focus on state priorities gives even more farmers the opportunity to conserve their land and protect their operations from development pressures. By protecting our farmland, we can help ensure the viability and success of New York agriculture for generations to come."

Round 19 of the State's Farmland Protection program supports the State's top priorities – like food security, climate resiliency, and source water protection – and includes the agroforestry, equine, and wine sectors as eligible applicants. In addition, the eligibility criteria includes three newer categories: field crops, livestock or livestock products, and access to farmland. Access to farmland is specifically intended to help address ongoing challenges facing new and beginning farmers as well as retiring farmers in this area. The following projects have been awarded through the 19th round of funding:

Capital Region ($943,293 for 514 acres):

  • Agricultural Stewardship Association (Washington County) – Horton Farm (dairy operation awarded under Livestock or Livestock Products category), awarded $943,293 for 514 acres.

Mohawk Valley Region ($326,321 for 186 acres):

  • Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy (Montgomery County) – Seventeen23 Farm (dairy operation awarded under Livestock or Livestock Products category), awarded $326,321 for 186 acres.

Mid-Hudson Region ($2,677,968 for 462 acres):

  • Dutchess Land Conservancy (Dutchess County) – Hahn Farm (livestock operation awarded under Viable Agricultural Land-Other category), awarded $544,232 for 117 acres.
  • Dutchess Land Conservancy (Dutchess County) – Levin Farm #1 (dairy operation awarded under Access to Farmland category), awarded $2 million for 320 acres.
  • Dutchess Land Conservancy (Dutchess County) – Levin Farm #2 (dairy operation and horse-boarding operation awarded under Access to Farmland category), awarded $133,736 for 25 acres.

Western New York ($1,613,183 for 957 acres):

  • Western New York Land Conservancy (Erie County) – Vacinek Farm (dairy, beef, crops, and wood products operation awarded under Source Water Protection category), awarded $551,191 for 310 acres.
  • Western New York Land Conservancy (Erie County) – Stefan Hay Farm (cash crop operation awarded under Field Crops category), awarded $1,061,992 for 647 acres.

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, "Our farmland protection program is one of the most successful in the nation, having protected well over 100,000 acres of farmland across the State so far. The program has grown and expanded over the years to respond to the growth of the industry and change in priorities. I’m so pleased today to help announce the next round of grants that will help protect one of our most important natural resources—our land and our rich soils. Maintaining our focus on farmland protection provides a boost to our continued efforts to strengthen the food system and support food production.”

State Senator Michelle Hinchey said, “New York’s Farmland Protection Implementation Grants Program has preserved thousands of acres of prime farmland from the looming threat of development. The support extended through this program helps guarantee that farmland stays in the hands of local farmers who are conserving it to grow our food, safeguard our drinking water, and contribute to our climate resiliency efforts. I’m proud to support this program and thrilled to see its positive impacts on many deserving projects, including those in Dutchess County within my Senate District.”

Assemblymember Donna Lupardo, Assembly Agriculture Committee Chair, said, “Each year, we prioritize farmland protection in the state budget. Our long-standing commitment continues with this latest round of FPIG grants. Expanding program eligibility to include field crops, livestock, and access to farmland will help many more farmers keep land in agricultural production. Congratulations to all of the funded projects; their efforts will help NYS conserve 2,119 acres of valued farmland. This important work is done on behalf of future generations.”

New York Farm Bureau President David Fisher said, “Farmland preservation grants are an important tool to ensure land remains in agricultural production for the next generation. Besides preserving open space, the state program is also an investment into our family farms, helping them to build on the great work they are doing to feed our communities. New York Farm Bureau thanks Gov. Hochul for continuing to prioritize farmland preservation in the New York State budget.”

American Farmland Trust New York Policy Manager Mikaela Perry said, “Farmland Protection is a critical tool in building regional food security, fighting climate change, and ensuring that land is available to farm for generations to come. Protected farms serve as the foundation for farmers to steward the land with climate-smart practices that can benefit all New Yorkers with fresh, local food, and clean water and air. AFT applauds these farmers and land trust partners for keeping over 2,000 more acres available for farming in the state of New York and celebrates over 113,000 acres permanently protected across the state!”

The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets administers the Farmland Protection Implementation Grants program and its associated grant opportunities. Governor Hochul announced the availability of $47.25 million for the program in June 2023. As part of the funding awarded, $4.5 million will be allocated to each of the State’s 10 economic development regions. Round 19 also continues the one-time incentive payment of 10 percent of the value of the agricultural conservation easement for projects that meet climate resilience or source water protection goals.

The Department is awarding conservation easements as applications are approved. The Governor announced the first set of awards, with more than $6 million being provided to not-for-profit conservation organizations to purchase conservation easements on eight farms, in September 2023. Grant applications are accepted on a continuous basis, until all funds have been awarded. Eligible entities can find out more information and how to apply here.

The Farmland Protection Implementation Grants Program provides financial assistance to counties, municipalities, soil and water conservation districts, and land trusts to enable them to implement farmland protection activities consistent with local agricultural and farmland protection plans. The most frequently funded activity is the purchase of development rights on individual farms. However, the program also awards funding to enable other implementation activities, such as amendments to local laws affecting agriculture, option agreements, and covering the transaction costs of donated agricultural conservation easements.

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