Genesee Valley Conservancy receives $12.3M to protect farmland

The Express

Six family farms in the Genesee Valley will soon be protected following grant awards announced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.  

The funding through the Farmland Protection Implementation Grants (FPIG) program will allow the Genesee Valley Conservancy to purchase 25 conservation easements on highly productive farmland across three counties and eight towns in the Genesee Valley. 

Protecting these farms will ensure their highly productive soils remain available for agricultural use for generations to come and that the families farming these lands will be able to continue their business without losing their land to subdivision or development.

The farms to be protected are: 

  • Emerling Farm in Perry will protect over 1,300 acres
  • Stein Family Farm in Caledonia and York will protect over 1,200 acres
  • Sparta Farm in Groveland will protect over 1,500 acres
  • Heindale Farm in Caledonia and East Bethany will protect over 650 acres
  • Marquart Brothers Farm in Wethersfield and Orangeville will protect over 1,100 acres
  • Armson Farms in Covington and York will protect over 1,000 acres

Each of these farms were competitively ranked locally by Livingston and Wyoming counties and were endorsed as priority projects. The farms were also endorsed by the towns in which their land is located.

Genesee Valley Conservancy

Farmland owners interested in learning about land protection options and wishing to be considered for future opportunities should review the quickly approaching deadlines in Livingston and Wyoming Counties at https://www.geneseevalleyconservancy.org/farmland

Nearly $3 million in funding for the Farm Operations in Transition Farmland Protection Initiative is still available. Awards will be made on a rolling basis until those funds are committed. 

The Genesee Valley Conservancy’s grant totaled $12.3 million for efforts in the Finger Lakes region. 

Dairy farmers continue to face challenges from prolonged low milk prices, increasing the threat that viable agricultural land may be converted to non-farm development.

Through this program, proceeds from the purchase of development rights on agricultural land will allow farmers an opportunity to diversify their operations or to transition their farms to the next generation at more affordable costs, while ensuring the land forever remains used for agricultural purposes. The projects awarded Friday will protect more than 11,300 acres of agricultural land.

"Climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic are creating unprecedented challenges for farmers throughout New York State, and preserving their farmland for production will aid our economic recovery," Gov. Cuomo said. "These Farmland Protection awards will give farmers much-needed support to conserve land, diversify their operations to expand market opportunities, and continue to produce and sell a diverse array of New York-made foods. Farming has long been an important part of the state's economy and this program will preserve more than 15,000 acres for the next generation of New York farmers."

The Conservancy’s award is the result of work over the past two years by staff of Genesee Valley Conservancy, Livingston County Board of Supervisors, Livingston County Agricultural & Farmland Protection Board, Livingston County Planning Department, Livingston County Soil and Water Conservation District, Wyoming County Board of Supervisors, Wyoming County Agriculture & Farmland Protection Board, Wyoming County Planning and Development, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Wyoming County, Wyoming County Soil and Water.