Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus announced today that the County and the Town of Red Hook have completed their acquisition of a conservation easement on Steiner Farm. Funding for the acquisition was provided by a partnership between the County and Town, each of which contributed $652,000.
This farmland protection partnership is the first of its kind for the County and a local municipality. The Town of Red Hook established a $3.5 million fund to protect its vital agricultural resources, a landmark initiative for a local municipality that was approved overwhelmingly by Red Hook residents. The Dutchess Land Conservancy played a key role in protecting the Steiner Property, as it has in a number of previous County acquisitions.
County Executive Steinhaus stated, “I commend Mr. Steiner for his commitment to protecting his property. This historic farm plays a vital role in Red Hook’s farm industry and represents the traditions our county residents value so highly.”
Steiner Farm is an important and highly visible component of the area known as the Red Hook Breadbasket, a high concentration of prime agricultural soils that supports the Town’s significant farm economy. The 228-acre farm complex is located at the intersection of Pitcher and Rockefeller Lanes and Budds Corners Road, a key gateway under increasing development pressure. The Steiner Farm adjoins Linden Farms, which was also protected with funds from the Partnership for Manageable Growth/Open Space and Farmland Protection Program earlier this year.
County Executive Steinhaus noted the importance of the Town’s commitment to farmland protection, stating “I think of Dutchess-Red Hook partnership as an example to follow for other Dutchess communities to follow facing the same development pressures. Our success in protecting irreplaceable land resources will depend on local action by towns across Dutchess.”
The Dutchess County Legislature approved funding at the request of County Executive Steinhaus from the Partnership for Manageable Growth Open Space and Farmland Protection Matching Grant Program in October, based on a recommendation from the Dutchess County Planning Board.
"Mr. Steiner, the Town of Red Hook and Dutchess County should all be proud of this major accomplishment. By partnering together to preserve this vital farmland, we have once again displayed that our County can truly make a difference in the protection of agriculture and open space," stated County Legislator Marcus Molinaro (R-Red Hook).
Since the establishment of the Matching Grant Program initiated by Steinhaus in 1999, the Dutchess County Planning Board has recommended approximately $3.9 million for open space and farmland acquisitions that will protect more than 1,700 acres. The County has committed $7 million to its advancement, with the goal of protecting at least 10,000 acres of resources by 2010. The Dutchess County Planning Board anticipates an increase in applications as more communities commit to local match funding participation with the county.