ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – It was announced on Tuesday that a record $52.5 million is now available through the Farmland Protection Implementation Grant program. This program will help farmers across the state protect valuable and at-risk farmland.
And, for the first time, the program will distribute $5 million to each of the state’s 10 economic development regions. This is the highest level of funding being offered in the program’s 25-year history.
“New York’s Farmland Protection program has been critical to helping to conserve thousands of acres of valuable farmland over the years and keep it forever in agriculture,” said Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard Ball. “I am proud of the innovative approaches the Department has taken to build on these successes and increase the program’s reach, including assisting our farmers to diversify their operations, transition ownership to the next generation, and now, expand eligibility criteria so even more farms qualify for the program. This, along with the record level of funding being offered today, will move us toward our next milestone of permanently protecting 100,000 acres of farmland in New York State.”
For the first time, eligibility criteria for the program have been adjusted to include the agroforestry, equine, and wine sectors. In addition, other State goals have been integrated into the eligibility criteria, including food security, climate resiliency, and source water protection. And, an incentive payment is now available to participating landowners whose project specifically incorporates climate resiliency or source water protection. Soil health assessments are also now an eligible project cost.
Municipalities, counties, Soil and Water Conservation Districts, and land trusts are eligible to apply for grants of up to $2 million each. The grants will help offset the costs of conservation easement projects that protect viable agricultural land from being converted to non-agricultural use.