Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor | Richard A. Ball, Commissioner
Jessica A. Chittenden

September 06, 2007

State Offers Funding for Municipalities to Protect Farmland

Up to $25,000 for Towns & Cities to Develop Ag & Farmland Protection Plans

New York State Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker today announced that municipalities will soon be able to apply for funding to help develop local agricultural and farmland protection plans. This is the first time that towns and cities will be eligible to apply for farmland protection planning grants; only counties have been eligible in the past.

"Home rule is the cornerstone of land use planning in New York State," the Commissioner said. "One of the most important duties granted by the legislature to a municipal government is the authority to undertake comprehensive planning and to regulate land use. Local government can play a vital role in farmland protection by creating a supportive business environment for agriculture by insuring that comprehensive plans and land use regulations contain clear language and explicit policies that are supportive of the local agriculture industry."

The purpose of this grant program is to provide an economic incentive to municipalities to develop local agricultural and farmland protection plans that will maintain the economic viability of the Stateís agricultural industry and its supporting land base and to protect the environmental and landscape preservation values associated with agriculture.

Municipalities, including cities, towns and villages that are located within a county which has established an agricultural and farmland protection board will be eligible to submit an application. Interested municipalities will be eligible for grants up to $25,000 or 75 percent of the cost of developing a local protection plan, which ever is less.

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.

A copy of the Municipal Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan Development Request for Application (RFA) will be made available on the Departmentís website at under "Funding Opportunities" on Wednesday, September 26, 2007. Grants will be awarded on a first come, first serve basis.

To further assist in protecting farmland, the Stateís Farmland Protection Program also provides financial assistance to municipalities to support local farmland protection plans and purchase the development rights on viable farmland. Awards are made based on whether lands are facing significant development pressure, if the lands serve as a buffer to significant public resources, the total number of acres to be preserved, and the long-term potential for the land to remain in production agriculture.


2007 Press Releases