Genesee County, in collaboration with Genesee Valley Conservancy, Western New York Land Conservancy, and Genesee Land Trust, has announced that the Agricultural & Farmland Protection Board will be accepting pre-applications from landowners interested in being considered for New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets Farmland Protection program or other state and federal farmland protection initiatives that may become available in the future.
The Farmland Protection program buys conservation easements on the State’s most productive farmland.
The program is completely voluntary, and the seller retains ownership of the land and can continue farming the property. However, the land will have permanent restrictions on commercial, residential, and industrial uses.
A workshop will be held on Tuesday, May 2, from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. at Genesee County Building 2, located at 3837 W Main Street Rd, Batavia, to provide landowners with information about the program. All interested landowners must attend this workshop prior to submitting an application. If any interested landowners cannot attend, contact the County Planning at [email protected] or (585) 815-7901 to inquire about making arrangements.
The State Farmland Protection Implementation Grant program reimburses farmers up to 87.5 percent of the value of the development rights on their land. Three land trusts serve Genesee County and can submit applications for this grant funding. All farmers wishing to apply to the State program must complete a reapplication with their respective land trust. Pre-applications will be evaluated by the land trust and will consider the amount of development pressure, quality of soils to be protected, and farm viability. The highest-scoring pre-application(s) will be invited to have full applications submitted to the program. These pre-applications may be used to select eligible farms for other future state and federal farmland protection programs. The Genesee County Planning Department, the Genesee Valley Conservancy, the Western New York Land Conservancy, the Genesee Land Trust, and the Genesee County Soil and Water Conservation District work cooperatively to manage the pre-application phase.
The pre-application process will be open year-round for interested landowners in the County but will be reviewed annually by each Land Trust. The full application deadline to the New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets has not yet been announced, and there is no guarantee the State will release a funding opportunity this budget year. However, establishing a pipeline of interested farms is crucial to demonstrating funding needs and critical to leveraging other non-state funding.
For more information on the New York State Farmland Protection program, visit: https://www.agriculture.ny.gov/AP/agservices/farmprotect.html