The Finger Lakes Land Trust announced today that it has been awarded $2.6 million in state grant funding to protect at-risk farmland in the Finger Lakes. Funded through the Farmland Protection Implementation Grant (FPIG) program, two of the Land Trust’s projects were selected for protection through the use of perpetual conservation easements. Grant funds will be used to cover the costs of purchasing development rights, surveying, and associated legal costs.
The Land Trust will permanently protect Brock Acres in the town of Canandaigua, Ontario County. Brock Acres is a 726-acre commodity crop farm which has more than a mile of frontage along Beaver Creek, a primary tributary to the Canandaigua Outlet. Brock Acres is located within 1 mile of Catalpa Farms, a 596-acre crop farm which will also be protected by the Land Trust using FPIG funds. Both farms, totaling 1,392 acres, are located in the Town of Canandaigua’s proposed “Padelford Brook Greenway,” a farmland protecting program aimed at reducing commercial and residential development pressure.
The Town of Canandaigua will also contribute $36,450 toward the protection of Brock Acres. “Farming is vital to our Finger Lakes Region and the Canandaigua community,” said Canandaigua Town Supervisor Pam Helming. “The Town of Canandaigua has taken proactive steps to foster the continued promotion and protection of agriculture over the past three years, including an Agriculture Enhancement Plan which is currently under review. I applaud area farmers, the Finger Lakes Land Trust, and the Canandaigua Town Board for recognizing and utilizing the Farmland Protection Grant program for the protection of viable agricultural soils for our future generations.”
In Cortland and Onondaga counties, Birdsall Farm, a 620-acre beef cattle operation, will also receive permanent protection through the Land Trust. The farm’s three 200-acre parcels are located in the towns of Scott and Spafford which both face the threats of subdivision and new home construction. The project is located in a priority protection area for the Land Trust and is adjacent to the Ripley Hill Nature Preserve. The farm also includes scenic frontage on State Route 41 and a 3,000 foot stretch of Grout Brook, a major tributary to Skaneateles Lake.
The Farmland Protection Implementation Grant Program is administered through the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets. Municipalities, counties, soil and water conservation districts and not-for-profit conservation organizations were eligible to apply for individual grants.
By working cooperatively with landowners and local communities, the Finger Lakes Land Trust has protected nearly 19,000 acres of our region’s undeveloped lakeshore, rugged gorges, rolling forest, and scenic farmland. The Land Trust owns and manages a network of nature preserves that are open to the public and holds conservation easements that protect lands remaining in private ownership.
The Land Trust focuses on protecting critical habitat and lands that are important for water quality, connecting conserved lands, and keeping prime farmland in agriculture. The organization also provides programs to educate local governments, landowners, and local residents about conservation and the region’s unique natural resources.
The Land Trust works across 12 counties that include all 11 Finger Lakes and a significant portion of the Southern Tier. Additional information on the Land Trust may be found at www.fllt.org.