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Newly Protected New York State Farms to be Recognized at Harvesting Opportunities in New York Conference, November 15, Albany

Farms across New York that have been permanently protected  through the state’s Farmland Protection Program in the last year will be recognized at the Harvesting Opportunities in New York: Growing Local Food Economies and Protecting Farmland conferencedesigned to inspire and educate New Yorkers to support agriculture, strengthen local farm and food economies, and get involved in protecting farmland.

New York’s Farmland Protection Program permanently protects farmland from real estate development by providing funding to purchase conservation easements from farmers. The farmers reinvest the funds they receive in exchange for protecting their land in the farm business and help transfer farm operations to the next generation.

“I just couldn’t stand to see the development come in and take over,” said Gary Wyffels of Wyffels Farm, who worked with the Finger Lakes Land Trust to protect his family’s farm which raises beef cattle in Canandaigua. “We could have gotten a whole lot more money if we sold it to a developer but I couldn’t live with houses in my backyard. I know almost every stone in those fields.” Protected farms from Long Island, the Hudson Valley and Capital Region, the Finger Lakes and Western New York, will be highlighted at the Harvesting Opportunities conference.

The Harvesting Opportunities in New York conference will bring together farmers, public officials, land trusts, local food and public health leaders, and concerned citizens to examine the potential to grow New York’s economy by strengthening connections between farmers and local consumers and protecting the land that is critical to farming. The one-day conference will take place on November 15 at the Hotel Albany in downtown Albany, New York. Get the full conference program and register online.

The program will include remarks by Verlyn Klinkenborg, a member of the New York Times Editorial Board and author of The Rural Life, followed by a series of nine concurrent workshops. A locally sourced Thanksgiving-themed lunch will be served, along with a program featuring a presentation about farms across New York that were permanently protected last year through the state’s Farmland Protection Program.

“This conference will motivate New Yorkers to work together to grow our local food economies and save the irreplaceable farmland on which New York’s farmers depend,” said American Farmland Trust New York State Director David Haight.

The cost to attend Harvesting Opportunities is $85. Space is limited. For more information and to register, visit http://newyork.farmland.org/harvesting-opportunities.

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