Monticello, NY – The Sullivan County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board is currently seeking farms interested in applying for the NYS Agriculture and Markets Farmland Protection Implementation Grant.
Applicants must be actively farming the property and committed to placing a permanent land protection agreement restricting certain development rights on the land. A current appraisal of the value of the farmland to be protected will also be required.
To learn more about conservation easements and the program, visit www.agriculture.ny.gov. Funding is generally available on an annual basis through the New York State Environmental Protection Fund and administered by the New York 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. This year, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced that $14 million will be available Statewide to address the threat of the conversion of viable agricultural land to non-farm development and help farms facing financial difficulties because of increased challenges resulting from trade disputes, increasing debt, changing consumer preferences and climate change.
“The grant program will assist eligible farmers with the acquisition of perpetual conservation easements on agricultural land, helping to keep valuable farmland in production, encourage diversification, and ensure the long-term viability of New York’s farming operations,” noted Sullivan County Planning Commissioner Freda Eisenberg.
The proceeds resulting from the sale of a perpetual agricultural conservation easement through the Farm Operations in Transition Farmland Protection Initiative may provide the capital needed to assist with a farm’s transition to:
• The next ownership of a continuing farm operation, which will be or has been modified to ensure greater financial sustainability,
• A more diversified overall farm operation, or
• A different type of non-dairy farm operation.
The Sullivan County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board is seeking farms interested in the program in order to develop a list of potentially eligible applicants. In order to qualify for the program, the Board must rank potential Sullivan County farms on a semi-annual basis. Once farms are ranked, they remain on a list of interested applicants for two years. All applicants are ranked based off criteria from the 2014 Sullivan County Agriculture and Farmland Protection Plan.
If you are interested in applying to be on the list, please contact Melinda Meddaugh at Cornell Cooperative Extension Sullivan County at 845-292-6180 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to receive an inquiry form. All forms are due by Friday, January 24 and can be emailed or mailed to Cornell Cooperative Extension Sullivan County, 64 Ferndale-Loomis Road, Liberty, NY 12754.