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Farmland protection grants provided to New York dairy farms

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Staff Writer | December 31, 2018
The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets announced nearly $8.5 million has been provided in support of conservation easement projects on several New York dairy farms.
Dutchess Land Conservancy
Empire State   Dairy farmers continue to face challenges
Dairy farmers continue to face challenges from prolonged low milk prices, increasing the threat of the conversion of viable agricultural land to non-farm development.

The Farmland Protection Implementation Grant program is helping to ensure dairy farms the opportunity to diversify their operations or transition their farm to the next generation at a more affordable cost while ensuring the land forever remains used for agricultural purposes.

Funding for the program is still available and the Department is encouraging its partners in the farmland protection program across the State to apply.

Ensuring that the viable agricultural land base of an operating dairy farm is protected from conversion to non-farm uses is essential to the long-term viability and sustainability of New York's agricultural industry.

The largest sector of the agricultural industry, New York's dairy industry is a critical component of State's economy, accounting for approximately one-half of its on-farm production, support services and value-added products. New York State is home to approximately 4,500 dairy farms with 620,000 cows, producing 14.9 billion pounds of milk.

New York ranks third in the production of milk and is first in the nation in the production of other dairy products such as yogurt and cottage cheese.

The projects awarded are:

- Dutchess Land Conservancy - $1,257,966 for the conservation of Destined Wind Farm, located in the Town of Amenia in Dutchess County.

- Genesee Valley Conservancy - $1,993,665 for the conservation of True Farm, located in the Town of Perry in Wyoming County.

- New York Agricultural Land Trust - $2,000,000 for the conservation of Preble Hill Farms, located in the Town of Preble in Cortland County.

- Genesee Valley Conservancy - $1,817,063 for the conservation of Silver Meadows Farm, located in the Towns of Castile and Perry in Wyoming County.

- Genesee Valley Conservancy - $1,414,504 for the conservation of Batzing Farms, located in the Town of York in Livingston County.

The state is accepting applications on a rolling basis for farmland protection grants of up to $2 million from eligible entities, such as land trusts, municipalities, counties, and soil and water conservation districts. There is no application deadline.

Conservation easement projects will be awarded to eligible dairy farms that are:

- Transitioning to the next ownership of a continuing dairy, but whose operation has been modified to ensure greater financial sustainability;

- Continuing dairy, but diversifying the overall farm operation; or

-Converting to a non-dairy farm operation.