POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. — Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro has announced 2017 funding from Dutchess County’s Partnership for Manageable Growth (PMG) Program will permanently protect two farms in Dutchess County, the Brookby Farm in the Town of Dover and the Destined Wind Farm in the Town of Amenia, preserving agriculture for years to come. 2017 PMG funding totals $651,781.
County Executive Molinaro said, “Agriculture is a vital, diverse and growing economic engine in Dutchess County, and our Partnership for Manageable Growth Program allows us to strategically preserve farming as an industry. Farming plays a vital role in Dutchess County’s future, just as in our past, and we will do all we can to promote it. Our support will position these farms well for the future of the industry while allowing each to continue a centuries-old tradition in Dutchess County.”
These family farms – one a centuries-old dairy farm that has a license to sell raw milk directly to consumers, the other a larger dairy farm that protects a variety of important habitats and scenic views, including a significant viewshed from the adjacent Harlem Valley Rail Trail – embody the spirit of the PMG program, protecting the land while fostering agriculture for subsequent generations.
Brookby Farm, Town of Dover
Brookby Farm is a 49-acre property that is home to a 200-year-old, seventh-generation dairy farm. This family-owned and run farm produced and sold over 800 gallons of raw milk in the first two months of receiving its raw-milk license. There is a farm store on site, where eggs, chicken, beef and pork raised on the farm are sold, as well as products from other area farms including honey, maple syrup and locally roasted coffee. Brookby Farm leases an additional 750 acres, and altogether, the farm yielded 600 round bales of hay; 6,000 square bales of hay; 300 tons of corn silage; and produced 450,000 pound (52,325 gallons) of milk in 2016. The total estimated cost of the acquisition of a conservation easement at Brookby Farm is $266,792. The County’s PMG funding will provide the 50 percent of the cost $133,396, and the Dutchess Land Conservancy (DLC) is working with partners to secure the remaining 50 percent, or $133,396.
County Legislator Alan Surman, who represents the Town of Dover, said, “Preservation of the Brookby Farm will allow the seventh-generation of the Vincent Family to stabilize the land base of their family business. The farm recently received two honors in 2015, a Designated Dairy of Distinction and a Century Farm Award. These Partnership for Manageable Growth funds will protect and preserve the dairy industry in the County. I’m happy Dutchess County will be able to protect this land for generations to come.”
Destined Wind Farm, Town of Amenia
Destined Wind Farm is a 232.5-acre, family-owned dairy farm that includes an active 100-plus cow dairy, 75 acres for hay production, 53 acres for corn production and 23 acres for pasture. Destined Wind Farm produces a little over one million pounds of milk each year, and sells that milk to Marcus Dairy. In addition the farm yields about 600 tons of haylage, 800 tons of corn silage, and 150 to 200 round bales each year, which is used to support the farm. The total estimated cost of the acquisition of a conservation easement is $1,727,950. The County’s PMG funding will provide 30 percent of the total acquisition costs, at $518,385. DLC will seek funding for the remaining 70 percent, or $1,209,565, from the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets.
County Legislator Will Truitt, the Dutchess County Legislature’s liaison to the Dutchess County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board, said, “While the Destined Wind Farm is distinctive and punctuates the viewshed from the Harlem Valley Rail Trail, its impact – from the products they produce to their economic impact – reaches far beyond its gates.”
The Dutchess County Planning Board evaluated each of the projects using objective criteria, met with the farmers at both properties, and subsequently provided funding recommendations to County Executive Molinaro. The two 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. They are active dairy farms; 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.”
Becky Thornton, President of Dutchess Land Conservancy, said, “We are truly thankful that County Executive Molinaro, County Planning Board members, County legislators, local leaders, 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 can’t thank the County enough for your foresight in approving this great investment in our local farms – ensuring their long-term 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 4,000 acres of farmland and open space in Dutchess County.
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