Albany, N.Y.-- State Senator George H. Winner, Jr. (R-C-I, Elmira) today urged area municipalities to take advantage of a new opportunity being offered by the state Department of Agriculture and Markets (Ag and Markets) to apply for farmland protection planning grants worth up to $25,000.
In the past, Winner said, only counties have been eligible to apply for the grants which have been helpful in the development of local agricultural and farmland protection plans to preserve agriculture’s economic standing in many regions.
"The agricultural industry has been an economic mainstay of many communities throughout our region and across upstate for generations," said Winner, chairman of the Legislative Rural Resources Commission. "Any and every municipality engaged or interested in the development of a farmland protection strategy should be aware of this opportunity."
The grants will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. On Wednesday, September 26, 2007, the Municipal Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan Development Request for Application (RFA) will be available on the department’s web site .
Municipalities -- cities, towns and villages -- located within a county with an established agricultural and farmland protection board will be eligible to submit a grant application. Grants of up to $25,000 or 75 percent of the cost of developing a local protection plan, whichever is less, will be awarded. According to Ag and Markets, eligible plans should identify the location of farmland proposed to be protected, the value of that land to the local economy, the value of that land as open space, consequences of possible conversion, and the level of conversion pressure on the proposed land.