Last Wednesday Governor Cuomo announced the availability of $20.5 million to protect working farms for future generations. “Protecting and maintaining farmland is vital to supporting the continued growth of New York’s robust agricultural industries,” said Governor Cuomo. Along with this announcement, the state issued a request for proposals for farmland protection funding for the first time since the state’s fiscal crisis in 2008. For the past five years American Farmland Trust has worked closely with farmers, land trusts, local governments and others to restart this critical program, lobbying state leaders, writing op-eds, and testifying at legislative hearings. “American Farmland Trust applauds Governor Cuomo for restarting New York’s Farmland Protection Program,” said David Haight, New York State Director for American Farmland Trust. “This program helps the next generation of New York farmers secure land and protects the farmland that is critical to local food security and the continued growth of our farm and food economy.”
The Hudson Valley Farmlink Network (HVFN), is hosting a series of workshops focusing on farmland leasing, farm transfer and estate planning. Recent workshops have been held in Washington, Ulster and Orange counties. “In these workshops farmers and landowners are getting to hear from their peers as well as professionals in farmland leasing and farm transfer,” said Tim Biello, New York Field Representative for American Farmland Trust, who is coordinating the workshops. “This enables farmers and landowners to expand their knowledge and resource networks, which helps landowners interested in leasing find farmers to work their land and assists farmers in establishing secure farmland access.” Additional workshops are scheduled in Saratoga County on June 26 , in Dutchess County on September 13, and in Columbia County on September 24, as well as a workshop in Westchester County, date to be announced. This workshop series is funded by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency.
Last week’s 14th annual New York State Purchasing Forum and Trade Show, entitled “Planting Seeds Today for Tomorrow’s Success” included a special section showcasing New York agriculture for the first time in the event’s history. The trade show, hosted by the state Office of General Services at the Empire State Plaza in Albany, included 200 exhibitors selling goods and services to government entities including state agencies, local governments and schools. The event also included a special training program called “Buy New York: Increasing New York State Agricultural Purchases.” “This event was a great opportunity to introduce institutional buyers to the foods grown in New York State,” said Glenda Neff, Senior New York Field Advisor for American Farmland Trust, and Farm to Institution New York State (FINYS) coordinator. “FINYS partners participated in the trade show and are working hard to smooth the way for buyers, processors and distributors to source local.”
The Hudson Valley Farmlink Network (HVFN), is a partnership of organizations, coordinated by American Farmland Trust, dedicated to facilitating farm transfers and making farmland accessible to the next generation of farmers in the Hudson Valley. This spring, HVFN launched a series of workshops. On April 8, 45 participants attended a Farm Transfer and Estate Planning workshop in Greenwich co-hosted by the Agricultural Stewardship Association and NY FarmNet/NY FarmLink. “I really appreciated HVFN bringing this workshop to Greenwich,” said John Hand of Hand Melon Farm. “It’s the jump start farmers need to start the planning process.” On May 6 a Farm Leasing for Farmers and Landowners workshop will be held at SUNY Orange in Newburgh. The panel will feature local farmers and landowners with leasing experience as well as legal expertise from Maryanne McGovern, Kenyon, Schwartzberg and Kenyon, PLLC, and George Lithco, Jacobowitz and Gubits, LLP. This workshop is co-hosted by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Orange County, GrowNYC, and the Orange County Land Trust.
RECENTLY HOSTED WORKSHOPS:
May 4th – Farm Leasing for Farmers and Landowners (pdf) – Ulster County
May 6th – Farm Leasing for Farmers and Landownders (pdf) - Orange County
*Info coming soon on a workshop being held in Saratoga County!
New York’s $138 billion budget for fiscal year 2014-2015, passed March 31, includes $14 million for the Farmland Protection Program, a $1 million increase. The $1 million increase will enable the state to leverage funds from the Army Compatible Use Buffer Program to purchase conservation easements on farms in the Greater Watertown-Tug Hill Region, enhancing the buffer around Fort Drum. “The land around Fort Drum is vital to the training of our nation’s military as well as the economy of the North Country which is why we are dedicated to protecting the base,” said Governor Cuomo. This new funding positions the state to jump start the Farmland Protection Program, which has not accepted new projects since 2008. Conservation of farmland buffering Fort Drum demonstrates one of many ways farmland conservation contributes to economic development across New York State.