Milligan Family Protects Armson Farms in Covington and York

12/07/2023

The third generation Armson Farms, operated by parents Bob and Karen Milligan and sons Todd and Jack Milligan, just completed a farmland protection project with Genesee Valley Conservancy to secure 969 acres of farmland from being converted to non-agricultural uses.

The third generation Armson Farms, operated by Bob and Karen Milligan and their sons Todd and Jack Milligan, just completed a farmland protection project with Genesee Valley Conservancy to secure 1,032 acres of farmland from being converted to non-agricultural uses.

“We look forward to knowing that our farmland and surrounding area are protected from the encroachment of non-agricultural development.”

Armson Farms is a dairy farm that was started in 1942 by Bob’s parents Austin and Arleen Milligan.  They acquired 152 acres and owned a 60-cow herd.  Since then, the farm has grown.  The Milligan’s herd is now sized at roughly 1,400 Holstein cows and they are working around 1,700 acres annually between owned and rented ground. The main farmstead is located in the town of Covington, Wyoming County, with some of their farmland located over the town line in York, Livingston County.

The farm has been recognized by various organizations for its quality operation.  The Milligan’s have received the Dairy of Distinction recognition from the Northeast Dairy Farm Beautification Program and the Farmers Partnering to Protect our Environment from Wyoming County Soil and Water Conservation District.  They have also been awarded several Milk Quality Awards from Dairy One that are based on the quality of the milk and its indication of a healthy dairy herd.

This farmland protection project was made possible by funding from the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets in the form of a ‘dairy transition’ conservation project.  The dairy transition project aims to support protecting farmland as part of an operations shift from one generation of owner to the next.  By helping farms bring on their next generation of owners, the program aims to ensure the valuable soil resources that are the foundation of any farm remain protected and available for continued use by the agricultural operation.

This conservation project involved accepting the 3rd, 4th and 5th conservation easements in the town of Covington by the Conservancy, the 3rd and 4th easements in York, and the 118th, 119th and 120th easements accepted by the organization since its founding in 1990.  The total land protected via Genesee Valley Conservancy is now 30,584 acres, surpassing the 30,000 acre milestone the organization has been working towards over the past few years.

The Armson Farms lands protected by this project include 63% USDA Prime soils and 12% NYS Important soils, two indicators of soil productivity.

Lands protected as part of this project include over 6 miles of scenic road frontage which will remain as intact vistas of the rural, agricultural landscape that defines Covington and York and is characteristic of Wyoming and Livingston counties more broadly.  The town boards of Covington and York both endorsed this project.

This project was the result of a collaboration between Genesee Valley Conservancy, Wyoming County Agricultural & Farmland Protection Board, Livingston County Board of Supervisors, Livingston County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board, Town of Covington and York and New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets. 

To-date, the collaborative effort between Genesee Valley Conservancy and local partners has resulted in over $36.3 million invested in protecting 20,023 acres of some of the State’s most productive agricultural lands, here in the Genesee Valley.

Genesee Valley Conservancy works throughout the Genesee River watershed to protect high quality habitat, open space and farmland for the community.  The Conservancy now oversees the protection of 30,584 acres.

Landowners in the Genesee River watershed interested in pursuing conservation options for their property, be it farmland, habitat, or a potential public nature preserve, should contact Genesee Valley Conservancy for more information


Genesee Valley Conservancy is a nationally accredited non-profit conservation organization working to protect the habitat, open space and farmland in the Genesee River watershed.  Over 30,584 acres of natural habitat and productive farm and forest land have been conserved by Genesee Valley Conservancy with private landowners.  The organization also owns nature preserves open to the public year-round for recreation and education.  For more information visit www.geneseevalleyconservancy.org

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