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Poughkeepsie… Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro has announced Dutchess County’s Partnership for Manageable Growth (PMG) Program will provide $935,855 to permanently protect six farms throughout Dutchess County, preserving agriculture for years to come.
County Executive Molinaro said, “The Partnership for Manageable Growth program allows us to strategically preserve farmlands that are the basis for agriculture which is a vital, diverse and growing economic engine throughout the County. Each of these six projects – whether it is a family farm dating back centuries, a community-supported agriculture operation or a gateway into Dutchess County – embodies the spirit of the PMG program, protecting the land and fostering agriculture for subsequent generations. Farming played such an important role in Dutchess County’s past, and it will play a vital part in our future; and we must do all we can to promote it. These PMG funds will allow these six farms to both continue a centuries-old tradition in Dutchess County while positioning them well for the future of the industry.”
County Executive Molinaro has prioritized agricultural preservation, including PMG funding in the 2015 County budget for the first time since 2008. Funding of $1 million was made available for Open Space and Farmland Protection Grants or Water and Wastewater Facility Planning and Development Grants.
The County Planning Board evaluated proposed projects using objective criteria, met with the farmers at each property, and subsequently provided funding recommendations to County Executive Molinaro. The six projects are contained within the County’s “Agricultural Priority Areas,” as delineated in the 2015 Dutchess County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan.
County Planning Board Chairman Hans Klingzahn said, “Each of the projects is a prime example of why the Partnership for Manageable Growth Program was established: to protect farms that have an important impact on Dutchess County. These farms feature high-quality soil to yield high-caliber crops, which in turn supply an economic benefit to the County; they are located in key gateway areas, accentuating our scenic viewsheds; they protect natural resources like wildlife and water, and hold a historic importance for the County; and they enhance local municipal comprehensive plans and designations.”
Projects receiving 2016 PMG funding include:
Caora Farm, Town of North East
The Caora Farm in the Town of North East is a 78-acre property that is home to a women-owned and operated, diversified sheep farm. The farmers are committed to sustainable, small-scale farming and community engagement. The total estimated cost of the acquisition of a conservation easement at Caora Farm is $371,850. Sixty-two percent, or $233,250, has been applied for through the New York State Hudson Valley Agriculture Enhancement Purchase of Development Rights program. The Scenic Hudson Land Trust will provide 19 percent, and the County’s PMG funding will provide the 19 percent balance of $69,300.
Chaseholm Farm, Town of Pine Plains
Chaseholm Farm in the Town of Pine Plains is a 175-acre property which is home to a small multi-generational, family farm. The total estimated cost of the acquisition of a conservation easement at Chaseholm Farm is $1,268,770. Sixty percent, or $760,570, has been applied for through the New York State Hudson Valley Agriculture Enhancement Purchase of Development Rights program provided by funding from the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets. The Scenic Hudson Land Trust will provide 21 percent, and the County’s PMG funding will provide the 19 percent balance of $246,225.
Duncandale Farm, Town of North East
Duncandale Farm in the Town of North East is a 168-acre property, owned by the Duncan family since the 1700s that currently produces hay for beef and dairy cattle replacement. The property is located in the Coleman Station Historic District, registered in large part for its agricultural heritage, which continues today. The total estimated cost of the acquisition of a conservation easement at the Duncandale Farm is $1,145,850. Sixty percent of that cost, or $686,690, has been applied for through the New York State Hudson Valley Agriculture Enhancement Purchase of Development Rights program. The Scenic Hudson Land Trust will provide 20 percent, and the County’s PMG funding will provide the 20 percent balance of $229,580.
Steel/Great Song Farm, Town of Milan
The Steel/Great Song Farm in the Town of Milan is an 88-acre property, actively farmed that includes a 110-member Community Supported Agriculture operation, a 30 beehive apiary and pasture for chickens, cows, and draft horses. The total estimated cost of the acquisition of a conservation easement at the Steel property is $463,600. Seventy-five percent, or $347,850, will be provided by funding from the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets. The County’s PMG funding will provide the critical 25 percent balance of $115,750.
County Legislator Gregg Pulver, who represents the towns of North East, Stanford, Pine Plains and Milan, is the chairman of the Dutchess County Legislature’s Public Works and Capital Projects Committee, and is a member of the Dutchess County Agricultural Advisory Committee said, “While the Caora, Chaseholm, Duncandale and Great Song farms are distinctive and punctuate the viewshed of northeastern Dutchess County, their impact – from the products they produce to their economic impact – reaches far beyond their gates. All these projects exemplify the PMG’s stated mission, and funding these projects will benefit Dutchess County, as a whole.”
Manne Farm, Town of East Fishkill
The Manne Farm in the Town of East Fishkill is a 38-acre field actively farmed by the Jackson family and conspicuously located at the intersection of Interstate 84 and the Taconic State Park, standing as a symbol of the County’s agricultural and natural heritage. The total estimated cost of the acquisition of a conservation easement at the Manne Farm is $201,950. Sixty percent of that cost, or $121,950, will be provided by project partners Dutchess Land Conservancy, Scenic Hudson Land Trust and Hudson Highlands Land Trust. Dutchess County’s PMG funding will provide the remaining 40 percent of $80,000.
County Legislator Marge Horton, who represents the Town of East Fishkill, said, “Preservation of the Manne property will allow the Jacksons to stabilize the land base of their 120-year-old family business. These Partnership for Manageable Growth funds will also protect the Shenandoah Valley viewshed, for which many county residents hold a deep affection. I’m happy Dutchess County will be able to protect this land for generations to come.”
Locust Grove Farm, Town of Pleasant Valley
Locust Grove Farm in the Town of Pleasant Valley is a 167-acre property that has been continuously operated as a dairy farm since the early 1800s and is currently leased for that purpose by Hackett Holsteins. The property is located at the southwestern entryway to the hamlet of Salt Point and proudly bears the sign welcoming people to the hamlet. The total estimated cost of the acquisition of a conservation easement at the Steel property is $1,030,150. Sixty-two percent, or $640,150, has been applied for through the New York State Hudson Valley Agriculture Enhancement Purchase of Development Rights program. The Scenic Hudson Land Trust will provide 20 percent, and the County’s PMG funding will provide the 20 percent balance of $195,000.
County Legislator Don Sagliano, who represents the Town of Pleasant Valley, said, “Hackett Holsteins produces, on average, 700,000 pounds of milk per year. Dutchess County is investing in a successful dairy that provides jobs, taxes and economic vitality to Pleasant Valley and beyond. Projects like this were the very essence of why the Partnership for Manageable Growth was conceived: to strategically preserve farmlands that are the basis for agriculture – an important component in our local economy and a key element of what makes Dutchess County a special place.”
Becky Thornton, President of Dutchess Land Conservancy, said, “We are truly thankful that County Executive Molinaro, County Planning Board members, County legislators, local leaders, our partners Scenic Hudson and Columbia Land Conservancy, and community members recognize the importance of our local farms, not only as a primary industry, but as a major component of our scenic and rural landscape, and provider of fresh food that benefits each and every one of us. We, together with Scenic Hudson, can’t thank the County enough for your foresight in approving this great investment in our local farms – ensuring their long-term protection.”
Steve Rosenberg, Senior Vice President of Scenic Hudson and Executive Director for the Scenic Hudson Land Trust, said, “Scenic Hudson is enormously grateful to Dutchess County Executive Molinaro and the County Legislature for their leadership and commitment of resources to secure the County's agricultural land to ensure that our farms will be supplying the region with healthy food for generations to come. And we also want to thank the farm families for taking the step, and Dutchess and Columbia Land Conservancies for their tireless dedication, to conserve these precious soils that we all too often take for granted.”
Peter Paden, Executive Director of the Columbia Land Conservancy, said, “The generational transition underway at the Chaseholm Farm exemplifies the kind of creative enterprise that promises to renew and reshape the agricultural landscape in our area and ensure that farming remains a central aspect of our community character. Conservation of this excellent farmland is a key component of the transition. The Columbia Land Conservancy is very pleased to be partnering, once again, with this wonderful farm family, with our colleagues at Scenic Hudson and with Dutchess County to protect this innovative farm. And we are very grateful for the leadership of County Executive Molinaro and the County Legislature for their strong commitment to farmland protection.”
Created in 1999, the PMG program helps protect important agricultural and open space resources. The program provides a locally funded match for land preservation purchases up to 50 percent of the total project cost. Since its inception, the program has helped to protect almost 3,300 acres of farmland and open space in Dutchess County.