Larkin Announces Local Farmland Protection Grants

William J. Larkin, Jr.

May 16, 2006

Senator Bill Larkin (R-C, Cornwall-on-Hudson) today announced $2,815,350 in funding under the State’s Farmland Protection Program to help to protect 345 acres of area farmland.

"Agriculture makes up one-quarter of the state's land area and is New York’s number one industry," said Senator Larkin. "This is why programs such as the Farmland Protection Program are so important to our residents and to our economy. This program assists our farmers, keeps land from being overdeveloped in our local communities, and preserves farmland for future generations."

In this latest round of grants, the Farmland Protection Program has awarded funding to 19 farms across the state, including, six first-time recipients. The Town of Wallkill is one of those first-time recipients this year. The program provides financial assistance to towns and counties to support local farmland protection activities. Once the State awards the funds, the local government purchases the development rights on the farmland, which permits farm owners to utilize the equity in the land without selling the farm.

Awards going to the following recipients include:

Town of Montgomery -- $720,375. The Town will partner with Open Space Institute and Orange County to protect a dairy farm with 115 acres. The farm has been family owned since 1928 and includes 2,100 feet of frontage along the Wallkill River. The farm is located within a mile of two previously protected farms and within areas designated as a Special Scenic Area and the "Wallkill Valley Farm Belt."

Town of Wallkill -- $2,094,975. The Town will protect a 230-acre dairy farm made up of nearly three-quarters statewide important soils plus additional prime soils. The farm has been in the family since 1959, adjoins the 2,000-acre Highland Lakes State Park and provides a scenic viewshed for westbound travelers along I-84.

Agriculture provided approximately $3.6 billion to New York’s economy last year. The State has 7.6 million acres of farmland – accounting for 25 percent of New York’s landscape -- and nearly 36,000 farms.