Molinaro Announces Over 600 Acres of Farmland Protected
Through Partnership for Manageable Growth
Poughkeepsie… Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro has announced over $1.05 million in funding awards from Dutchess County’s Partnership for Manageable Growth (PMG) Program to permanently protect 641 acres on three farms in Dutchess County. The preserved land serves diverse sections of the agricultural economy in Dutchess County, including dairy, equine and nursery stock.
County Executive Molinaro said, “Through our Partnership for Manageable Growth program, we are able to strategically preserve farmland that helps to sustain and grow our agricultural industry, which is a major economic engine for Dutchess County’s economy, while also protecting and enhancing our ecology and quality of life. Farmland protection and promoting good stewardship of the land is an important part of combating climate change and Dutchess County is proud to continue to lead New York State in this effort.”
The Partnership for Manageable Growth helps protect important agricultural and open space resources, providing a locally funded match for land preservation purchases up to 50 percent of the total project cost. There are a multitude of benefits to protecting farmland including: supporting the local economy as agriculture creates jobs and keeps money local as good and services are purchased from other local businesses; fosters the farm-to-table movement as more people seek food options locally sourced; and accentuates scenic viewsheds. Additionally, there are long-range environmental benefits of farmland preservation including wildlife habitat, clean air and water, flood control and groundwater recharge. The American Farmland Trust (AFT) notes, “conserving farmland ‘by the acre’ and soil ‘by the inch,’ is a powerful strategy for reducing greenhouse gases” and “farmers, ranchers, and landowners play a unique role in reducing the growing threat of climate change while increasing food production, improving soil health, and protecting farmland for future generations.” The 2017 report, Greener Fields – Combating Climate Change by Keeping Land in Farming in New York, published by AFT, noted, “an acre of farmland in New York produces 66 times fewer greenhouse gases than an acre of developed land.”
Each of the 2019 PMG projects was evaluated by the County Planning Board using objective criteria and are all located in “Agricultural Priority Areas,” as delineated in the 2015 Dutchess County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan.
The funded projects are as follows:
Glenmore Farm, Towns of Clinton and Pleasant Valley
The 519-acre Glenmore Farm is a significant component of the well-established agricultural community of Salt Point and is a key component of this critical mass of farmland in central Dutchess County. 408-acres of this farm will be protected, which supports two farm operations; a livestock and hay operation and a dairy. Most of the farm’s soils are considered either prime or of statewide importance to agriculture. The total estimated cost to acquire the conservation easement at Glenmore Farm is $2,506,693. The County’s PMG funding will provide the 20 percent of the cost, $500,00; NYS Ag & Markets is providing $1,880,020 or 75% of the cost and DLC is working with partners to secure the remaining five percent, or $126,673.
“Here in Dutchess County, we are incredibly fortunate to have a County Executive, County Legislature, County Planning Board, and County Planning Department, who truly care about our local farms, and demonstrate this by their amazing leadership and support of the County’s PMG Program. With added help from the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets, we are thrilled to be able to work with the owners of Dutchess Views, Glenmore and Lopane Farms. Ensuring that the land remains open and available for farming means that agriculture will remain a primary industry in Dutchess County, and will continue to be a big part of our scenic and rural landscape long into the future,” noted Becky Thornton, Dutchess Land Conservancy’s President.
Dutchess Views Farm, Town of Pine Plains
Dutchess Views Farm is an 80-acre breeding and boarding facility for New York state bred racing thoroughbreds. Almost 70 percent of the farm contains prime and statewide important farm soils. 90 percent of the property is actively farmed as turn-out pasture and the farm leases another six-acres of adjoining farmland for additional pasture. In 2017, Dutchess Views Farm contributed to the local agricultural economy by purchasing over a half million dollars in agricultural supplies and services from Hudson Valley providers and employing 6, (non-family) full-time staff and an additional full-time person during foaling season.
The total estimated cost of the purchase of a conservation easement on the subject property is $889,405. The County’s PMG funding will provide the 24 percent of the cost or $209,528, NYS Ag & Markets is providing $667,377 or 75 percent of the cost and DLC is working with partners to secure the remaining $12,500.
Dutchess County Legislature Chairman Gregg Pulver, who is also a multi-generational farmer in the Town of Pine Plains, said, “Agriculture is an active and integral part of life in Dutchess County, and the Partnership for Manageable Growth helps ensures that remains true for years to come. The agriculture industry provides so many benefits – enhancing the character of our towns and villages, improving the health of our residents, and bolstering our local economy. These farms reflect the diversity of the agriculture industry and how it continues to expand and thrive in Dutchess County.”
Lopane Farms, Town of Amenia
Lopane Farms consists of two parcels (a 112-acre and a 41-acre) totaling 153-acres, in the Town of Amenia. The farms are used to grow stock for the family’s Westchester-based gardening center and landscaping business, Katonah Nursery. The total estimated cost of the purchase of a conservation easement on the subject properties is $1,353,626. The County’s PMG funding will provide the 25 percent of the cost or $338,406, and NYS Ag & Markets is providing the remaining $1,015,220 or 75 percent of the cost.
Since its inception in 1999, Dutchess County’s Partnership for Manageable Growth program has helped to protect over 4,000 acres of farmland and open space. Today’s announcement brings the total pending projects to eight, which will add an additional 1,400 acres, bringing the total preserved land to over 5,400 acres.