Thursday, May 15, 2014

State Providing Money for Farmland Protection

From New York state:

State officials announced Wednesday he availability of $20.5 million to aid farmland protection efforts and help prevent viable agricultural land from being converted to non-agricultural use. 

Eligible entities, including municipalities, counties, soil and water conservation districts (SWCD) and nonprofit conservation organizations/land trusts, can apply for individual grants under the Round 13 Farmland Protection Implementation Grants Request for Proposals (RFP).

Funding is available through the state Environmental Protection Fund and administered by the state Department of Agriculture and Markets. When offered in the past, the grant has been highly competitive, with requests for state assistance often exceeding available funds by a factor of three.

The Department of Agriculture and Markets anticipates that an even greater number of proposals will be submitted this year because the grant has not been offered by New York state for several years. 

Additionally, revisions to state law have increased the state contribution to a maximum of 87.5 percent (up from 75 percent) and also expanded the number of entities now eligible to apply directly for these funds – adding land trusts and Soil and Water Conservation Districts.

In response to feedback from numerous stakeholders, such as local governments, the number of documents required to complete a project has been reduced and the overall process has been streamlined. In addition, the Department of Agriculture and Markets has instituted a number of contractual milestones to ensure that most projects will be on target for completion under a more practical timeframe.

Application materials and important webinar information for the Round 13 Farmland Protection Implementation Grants RFP are available for download on the Department of Agriculture and Markets website at Application materials are also available by calling the Department directly at (800) 554-4501.

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