ALBANY, N.Y. — New York State Agriculture Commissioner Darrel J. Aubertine recently announced $610,781 in funding to help 20 municipalities (12 towns and eight counties) develop local agricultural and farmland protection plans.
This is the fifth round of these planning grants.
“The landscape of New York State is constantly changing and localities must be able to adapt,” said Aubertine.
“As more people and businesses are drawn to the open spaces that rural life offers, many small towns and villages are grappling with difficult decisions regarding land use and preservation. These grants will encourage towns and counties to construct a well-thought out plan to protect viable and productive farmland. The 20 municipalities that will receive funding have made a commitment to develop a plan that allows smart growth to take place across New York State.”
The State’s Farmland Protection program provides two funding sources — planning grants and implementation grants.
Planning grants help fund the development of an agricultural and farmland protection plan.
Implementation grants help purchase the development rights on viable farmland.
The local agricultural and farmland protection plans will help maintain the economic viability of the state’s agricultural industry and its supporting land base. The plans will also help protect the environmental and landscape preservation values associated with agriculture.
To date, the state has helped fund agricultural and farmland protection in 76 towns and 10 counties. Any municipality, including cities, towns and villages, located within 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.
“These planning grants are an important tool to encourage municipalities to be engaged with the agricultural community. Farms play a vital role in the rural economy, and making sure farmland is properly protected is a meaningful way for Commissioner Aubertine and the Department of Agriculture and Markets to support New York farmers. The New York Farm Bureau appreciates the sizable grants and looks forward to helping the state and local communities effectively implement the protection plans,” said Dean Norton, president of the New York Farm Bureau.
This is an open enrollment program and a grant application is available at the following link www.agriculture.ny.gov/RFPS.html.