October 16, 2009
State to Survey Farmland Protection Program Participants
Gathering Details on Program’s Impacts on Farm Viability and Transitions
New York State Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker today announced that the National Agricultural Statistics Service’s New York field office will be conducting a survey of participants in New York State’s Farmland Protection Program.
“While its primary purpose is to protect productive farmland, the Farmland Protection Program also helps safeguard local food production, as well as provide a significant economic stimulus to rural communities,” the Commissioner said. “We are taking this opportunity to collect information on farmers’ experience with the State’s program and document the impacts of participation on the economic viability of participating farms and farm transfers.”
The survey will document farmers’ opinions of the State’s Farmland Protection Program, the benefits and drawbacks of participating in the program, and the current uses of protected farmland. The survey will also measure the impacts of program participation on farm business viability and intergenerational farm transfers.
Nearly 150 farmers who have participated in the program will be contacted for phone interviews in October and November. All responses will remain confidential. The Department anticipates having a report ready by the spring, which will be used to inform lawmakers of the impact of the program and the benefits provided to the agricultural industry.
The Farmland Protection Program is open to all counties and municipalities that have approved agricultural and farmland protection plans. Preferred projects are those that preserve viable agricultural land, are located in areas facing significant development pressure and serve as a buffer to a significant natural public resource containing an important ecosystem or habitat. The program also considers a farm’s long-term potential to remain in viable agricultural production, the cost of the proposal in relation to the acreage to be protected, and the level of commitment to farmland protection that other local project partners demonstrate.
New York State has 7.6 million acres of farmland. Since 1996, New York has awarded more than $173.3 million for farmland protection projects, assisting local governments and their project partners in 29 counties to help protect 72,668 acres on 303 farms. To date, 160 projects have closed, protecting in perpetuity more than 30,800 acres of farmland.
2009 Press Releases