The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets this week announced $150,000 in funding to help four municipalities — three counties and one town — develop local agricultural and farmland protection plans. Planning grants, an integral component of the state’s Farmland Protection Program, are being provided to Jefferson, Steuben and Ontario counties, as well as the Town of Milton in Saratoga County.
Acting State Agriculture Commissioner James B. Bays said: “Gov. Cuomo understands the important role that agriculture plays in local economies, and in this administration, interest in agriculture has never been higher. As a former town supervisor, I have seen firsthand how critically important it is to plan for future sustainability. This funding will assist municipalities in developing strategies on how to grow smart while continuing to protect their vast agricultural resources.”
Planning grants provide local municipalities with an economic incentive to develop local agricultural and farmland protection plans. These plans help maintain the economic viability of the state’s agricultural industry and its supporting land base and protect the environmental and landscape preservation values associated with agriculture. Under this program, New York state has helped fund agricultural and farmland protection plans in 77 towns and 13 counties.
Any municipality, including cities, towns and villages located in a county that has an agricultural and farmland protection board is eligible for a farmland protection planning grant. These funds can provide up to $25,000, or 75 percent of the cost of developing a local protection plan.
The planning grant program is also open to counties that have an approved agricultural and farmland protection plan that is 10 years old or older. Those counties may receive up to $50,000, or 50 percent of the cost of updating the current plan or developing a new county plan.
For more information on funding, visit http//www.agriculture.ny.gov/funding opportunities.
Agricultural and farmland protection plans should identify the location of farmland to be protected, the value of that land to the local economy, the value of that land as open space and the consequences of possible conversion. The plan should also describe the programs and strategies the local government intends to use to promote and protect continued agricultural use.
The list of farmland protection grants are as follows:
Jefferson County: $37,500
Steuben County: $50,000
Ontario County: $37,500
Town of Milton: $25,000