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Cuomo announces $500,000 is available for farmland protection

By Eric Reinhardt

Date:

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday announced the availability of $500,000 to aid farmland-protection efforts across New York state. 

 

Municipalities can apply for grants of up to $15,000 under this new request-for-applications to amend local laws to better protect farmland from conversion to non-agricultural use, the governor’s office said in a news release.

 

“This new funding safeguards New York’s agricultural industry by enabling local governments to pursue smart-growth strategies that protect farmland from future development,” Cuomo said.

 

Funding is available through the New York State Environmental Protection Fund, which the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets will administer, Cuomo’s office said.

 

The request for applications is a non-competitive grant opportunity for municipalities to either amend local laws to remove unreasonable restrictions on farm operations and agricultural land, or establish implementation-ready, transfer-of-development rights (TDR) programs to protect farmland from conversion to non-farm use, Cuomo’s office said.

 

TDR relies on a conservation easement to shield farmland from development while also enabling the community to transfer and utilize elsewhere the development rights that the farm may never use, the office added.

 

This is the first such grant application that New York has released in “several years,” according to the governor’s office.

 

Application materials and important webinar information are available for download on the state Department of Agriculture and Markets website at www.agriculture.ny.gov/RFPS.html.

 

The state also plans to release another more traditional request for proposals (RFP) for other types of farmland-protection projects in 2014, Cuomo’s office said.

 

The RFP is also available to counties, not-for-profit conservation organizations (referred to as “land trusts”), and soil and water conservation districts.

 

Contact Reinhardt at ereinhardt@cnybj.com

 

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