Saratoga PLAN is set to receive $1.5 million for two projects to help preserve farmland in Saratoga County.
The money is part of a $6.3 million allocation from the state that is being doled out to eight projects to help protect 2,764 acres of at-risk farmland in the Capital Region.
Funded through the Farmland Protection Implementation Grant program, the projects support the preservation of farmland for agricultural use and protect it from degradation through the use of perpetual conservation easements.
“The continued strength of New York’s agricultural industry is essential to our economy,” said Gov. Andrew Cuomo. “This funding will support the next generation of Capital Region farmers, preserve our natural resources, and continue to strengthen the industry for generations to come.”
For Saratoga PLAN, a nonprofit, conservation organization, the two projects to get funding assistance involve the Barber Brothers Dairy Farm in Northumberland and the William H. Buckley Farm in Ballston. Some 432 acres of the 1,200 acre Barber farm and 63 acres on the Buckley farm will be conserved.
The grant money is used to purchase conservation easements on the farms. The funds cover 87.5 percent of the total project cost. Initial payments from the state will cover the survey, legal costs, and other steps.
The grant program is part of New York state’s Environmental Protection Fund. Funding for the program increased by $5 million this year, according to the governor’s office. Since 2011, the state has invested more than $62 million for 82 projects statewide.
“As Lieutenant Governor, I travel the state and spend considerable time in rural communities. I see first-hand how strategic investments in agriculture help lift our economy as a whole,” said Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul. “In the Capital Region and across New York, we must continue to protect precious farmland so our agricultural footprint can grow and so our producers can thrive for generations to come.”
The Farmland Protection Implementation Grant program is administered through the state Department of Agriculture and Markets. Municipalities, counties, soil and water conservation districts and nonprofit conservation organizations, or land trusts, were eligible to apply.