A total of $4.9 million has been awarded to help farmers protect 2,843 acres of at-risk farmland through the state's Farmland Protection Implementation Grant program.
Funding will preserve six farms in Central New York, Western New York and the North Country, and help maintain the land for agricultural purposes and protect it from development through the use of perpetual conservation easements.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Farmland Protection program. The state has not only reinvigorated the program, but also committed historic funding levels to farmland preservation.
The program is part of the state's Environmental Protection Fund, which New York state’s 2016 budget more than doubled, raising the funding level to $300 million.
Funding for the Farmland Protection program itself increased by $5 million this year and built on last year's historic investment in farmland protection, including the $20 million Hudson Valley Agricultural Enhancement Program.
The project awards by region include:
· Central New York - $2.4 million awarded for 3 projects with the Finger Lakes Land Trust and the New York Agricultural Land Trust, including a dairy farm, the Birdsall beef farm in Onondaga and Cortland counties and the Perry cash crop and beef operation in Cayuga County.
· North Country - $1.8 million awarded for 1 project with the Tug Hill Tomorrow Land Trust for a cash crop grain farm in Jefferson County
· Western New York - $700,000 awarded for 2 projects with the Western New York Land Conservancy protecting D&J Brawdy Farms, a cash crop vegetable operation in Erie County, and Triple Oaks Farms, a dairy operation in Erie County.