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

February 27, 2008

$372K More For Towns to Develop Farmland Protection Plans

Commissioner Announces Additional Funding for 16 More Towns

New York State Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker today announced an additional $372,500 in funding to help 16 towns develop local agricultural and farmland protection plans. This announcement is in addition to the nearly $500,000 announced last month for local farmland protection plans, bringing the total amount provided this year to $862,445 for 37 towns.

"One of the most important roles of a municipality is the regulation of land use," the Commissioner said. "This responsibility gives them the authority and opportunity to provide a supportive environment for agriculture. I applaud these 16 towns for taking the initiative to address evolving land use issues in their area and plan for the protection of viable and active farmland. It is their participation in the planning process and commitment to providing a supportive business environment for agriculture that will make smart growth a reality here in New York State."

The State’s Farmland Protection Program provides two funding sources – planning grants and implementation grants. Planning grants include a portion of the start-up funds in developing an agricultural and farmland protection plan. Implementation grants are used to help purchase the development rights on viable farmland.

The planning grants provide local municipalities with an economic incentive to develop local agricultural and farmland protection plans. These plans help maintain the economic viability of the State’s agricultural industry and its supporting land base and to protect the environmental and landscape preservation values associated with agriculture.

Any municipality, including cities, towns and villages, that are located within a county which has established an agricultural and farmland protection board, are eligible for farmland protection planning funds. These funds can provide up to $25,000 or 75 percent of the cost of developing a local protection plan, whichever is less.

Farmland protection 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. To date, 48 counties have farmland protection plans in place.

Governor Eliot Spitzer recently announced nearly $35 million for farmland protection implementation grants - the largest amount of funding and greatest number of acres protected in the program’s eleven year history. Since the program’s inception in 1996, New York has allocated more than $144.5 million out of the Environmental Protection Fund for farmland protection projects, assisting local governments and their project partners in 26 counties to help protect 50,400 acres on 241 farms. To date, half of those project contracts have closed, protecting in perpetuity, 27,500 acres of farmland.

In order to further reduce litter and to enhance funding for the environmental programs, such as farmland protection, the Governor has proposed the Bigger Better Bottle Bill. This expanded version of the Bottle Bill will require a five cent deposit on non-carbonated, single-serve containers and require all unclaimed deposits to be added to the EPF.

Unclaimed bottle deposits are estimated to be worth $140 million each year and are currently kept by bottlers and beverage distributors. This additional revenue would be added to the EPF’s $250 million a year in state funding, and would enhance funding for environmental and agricultural programs, such as farmland protection. To further ensure environmental stewardship efforts, Governor Spitzer proposed creating a new category within the EPF that would be dedicated to agricultural programs to guarantee these vital programs are adequately funded.

The Commissioner added, "While the Bottle Bill has been effective in keeping our rural roads and vistas clean and beautiful, the expanded bill will allow us to enhance our efforts in protecting viable land and water quality throughout New York State."

New York State has 7.6 million acres of farmland with 35,000 farms.



Town of Bethlehem (Albany County) $25,000

Town of Butler (Wayne County) $25,000

Towns of Carlisle & Seward (Schoharie County) $50,000

Town of Charlton (Saratoga County) $25,000

Town of Clinton (Dutchess County) $25,000

Town of Geneva (Ontario County) $7,500

Town of Halcott (Greene County) $25,000

Town of LeRoy (Genesee County) $25,000

Town of Marbletown (Ulster County) $25,000

Town of New Paltz (Ulster County) $25,000

Town of North East (Dutchess County) $25,000

Town of Salem (Washington County) $25,000

Town of Shawangunk (Ulster County) $25,000

Town of Ulysses (Tompkins County) $25,000

Town of Victor (Ontario County) $15,000


ROUND I TOTAL (Announced January 8, 2008) $489,945




Photographs from today’s announcement and a pdf of a New York State map with all 37 farmland protection planning grant recipients.

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