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Hochul announces $38 million awarded to conserve farmland across New York

Don Pollard
Office of Governor Kathy Hochul
Governor Kathy Hochul visits two Long Island farms and has a round table discussion with Commissioner Richard Ball and Long Island Farm Bureau representatives.

Governor Kathy Hochul announced on Monday that more than $38 million is being awarded to New York’s agricultural industry to protect farmland across the state.

The Farmland Protection Implementation Grants program is available to counties, cities and soil and water conservation districts to help purchase the development rights of farms, and cover costs associated with other local zoning changes that encourage conservation.

Hochul said the state needs help to define the future of farming post-pandemic.

“We know the challenges that exist,” Hochul said. “We also see incredible opportunities and we think about how we get through the challenges in partnership with the agricultural community, because they have been there for us, we need to be there for them.”

Hochul said that the state needs to deal with the high cost of diesel fuel and how much it costs for farmers to run their equipment. The state is also working on ways to make sure that farmers have tax credits and receive help with their worker retention costs.

The grant will protect nearly 12,000 acres of land, and 40 farms across the state were awarded funding.

On Long Island, over $3.5 million will protect 15 acres on two farms operated by the Peconic Land Trust.

Hochul also kicked off a statewide listening tour on the future of farming in New York State at Suffolk County Community College.

“These listening sessions will help us navigate the challenges and opportunities in the agricultural community,” Hochul said. “My message to New York's farmers, and to all New Yorkers, is this: ‘I am here to listen to you, to support you, and to take action on the issues that are important to you.’"

Farmers can talk directly to the state about their priorities in addressing climate, workforce and economic challenges at the listening sessions. It will also help inform New York’s federal priorities on policy changes in agriculture, nutrition and the environment.

The next session is July 25 at Cornell Cooperative Extension in Binghamton. Additional sessions held across the state will be announced soon.

Natalie is a former news fellow with WSHU Public Radio.