$5million in state funds used to conserve dairy farms - Cowsmo

$5million in state funds used to conserve dairy farms

More than $5 million in state funds will be used to help conserve two Wyoming County farms, along with a third in Livingston County.

The state Department of Agriculture and Markets announced the funding Thursday in support of conservation easement projects on several farms statewide. Three of the grants went to the Genesee Valley Conservancy.

They will include $1,993,665 for the conservation of True Farms in Perry; $1,817,063 for the conservation of Silver Meadows Farm in Silver Lake; and $1,414,504 for the conservation of Batzing Farms, in York, Livingston County.

Dairy farmers continue to face challenges from prolonged low milk prices, increasing the threat of the conversion of viable agricultural land to non-farm development, state officials said in a news release. The Farmland Protection Implementation Grant program is helping to ensure dairy farms the opportunity to diversify their operations or transition their farm to the next generation at a more affordable cost while ensuring the land forever remains used for agricultural purposes.

Exactly how the money will be used wasn’t specified. Neither the Genesee Valley Conservancy or any of the farms involved could be contacted before press time Thursday night.

“This is a great opportunity for our dairy farmers to take advantage of the grants available to ensure the protection of farmland and help encourage the next generation of farmers,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul in the news release. “We want to continue to grow our agricultural economy in New York State and make sure farmers have the resources and support they need to continue to provide local products for people around the world.”

Funding for the program is still available and the Department is encouraging its partners in the farmland protection program across the State to apply. Additional information can be found on the Department’s website.

Ensuring that the viable agricultural land base of an operating dairy farm is protected from conversion to non-farm uses is essential to the long-term viability and sustainability of the state’s agricultural industry, officials said. The largest sector of the agricultural industry — the dairy industry — is a critical component of state’s economy, accounting for about one half of its on-farm production, support services and value-added products.

New York State is home to about 4,500 dairy farms with 620,000 cows, producing 14.9 billion pounds of milk. New York ranks third in the production of milk and is first nationwide in the production of other dairy products such as yogurt and cottage cheese.

All farmland protection project proposals must be submitted electronically through the New York State Grants Gateway. For more information regarding the Grants Gateway, visit the website. Additional information and the RFA can be found on the Department’s website.


Source: The Daily News Online

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