GREENWICH, N.Y. — We know that times are tough, and we would like to help where we can. If you are a cow dairy farmer in Washington or Rensselaer counties, the Agricultural Stewardship Association (ASA) may be able to assist you with a state grant that permanently conserves farmland while providing funding to dairy farms in transition. Unlike the competitive state farmland protection implementation grants that are announced every two years, this new grant opportunity is on a rolling basis and noncompetitive (pass/fail criteria). To be considered, you must meet the qualifications below:
Eligible projects are limited only to conservation easement projects (also referred to as purchase of development rights projects) on dairy farm operations on viable agricultural land that are transitioning to:
- the next ownership of a continuing dairy, but whose operation has been modified to ensure greater financial sustainability,
- a more diversified overall farm operation, while continuing, at least in part, as a dairy,
- a different type of non-dairy farm operation.
In addition, the farmland needs to meet the following region-specific criteria:
- at least 58 acres
- at least 32% of the land is in active agricultural production
- at least 5% of the soils classified by NRCS as prime or statewide important
If you sold your dairy cows within 12 months of submission, you are still eligible to apply. Rental land is also eligible provided it is used for the dairy operation.
The grant project may cover anywhere from 75-100% of the total project costs depending on whether local matches are available. Most farmers elect 87.5% which is the highest state funding payout option to cover the cost of their development rights and project related transaction expenses. ASA will write the grants at no cost to the farmers.
The state allocated $30 million for this grant program statewide. Funds are allocated by region so early submissions are encouraged! If you feel that you meet the eligibility and criteria requirements and are interested in pursuing this grant opportunity, please contact ASA today.
The Agricultural Stewardship Association has helped more than 125 farm families conserve 20,042 acres in Washington and Rensselaer counties. ASA was founded in 1990 by farmers to conserve local farmland and ensure a future for farming in our region. For more information about ASA’s work, visit www.agstewardship.org.
— Agricultural Stewardship Association
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