SARATOGA CO., N.Y. — Editor’s note: The following is a letter from Saratoga County Planning and Saratoga PLAN to landowners and farmers interested in farmland conservation.
Saratoga County Planning and Saratoga PLAN are pleased to be working together to continue to assist farmers and landowners to achieve their conservation goals. New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets (NYSDAM) has sent us a notice recently that the next round of state funding for farmland conservation (aka PDR, or Purchase of Development Rights) will be next spring.
The state is encouraging potential applicants to submit site plans for farmland conservation easement projects this fall. This will permit us to get the state’s feedback on site plans prior to submitting full-blown applications next spring, expediting the application review process by the state later on. Site Plans are due to the NYSDAM by November 3, 2017, along with a rationale for their configuration. We will prepare the maps and the rationale write-up for farmland owners wishing to apply.
Given the relatively short timeline, we need to hear from you directly by the end of September if you are ready to commit to the PDR application process. Once we have heard from you, we will meet with you in the beginning of October to get your property mapped and your Site Plan solidified to get into the State by their November 3rd deadline.
Farmland conservation grant program are extremely competitive, with several layers of review and ranking. Saratoga County Planning and Saratoga PLAN want to submit the best and most competitive proposals we can to secure state funds for farmland protection. We’ve been very successful so far in securing grant awards for farmland owners in Saratoga County and hope to continue that trend. Important characteristics of a good application include:
- actively farmed land or rented land that is actively being farmed
- viable farm operation and business, with need for land being conserved
- multi-generational operation with a true succession plan
- highest quality soils
- all land in the vicinity that is owned by the applicant or close relatives is being
conserved (unless buffered)
- few or no future homesites outside designated farmstead area
- adjacent to a significant natural resource such as an aquifer, stream corridor,
- located in an area that has a significant farming core and is close to ancillary
support businesses and markets
- located in an area under development pressure
Background information on conserving farmland can be found online at: https://www.saratogaplan.org/conserve/qa-landowners/ and https://www.saratogaplan.org/conserve/conservation-easements/.
All owners of record need to sign a letter of commitment to submit an application to the State. Discussions amongst the parties that own the land need to happen prior Site Planning work so that all landowners can understand and agree to submitting an application. The Saratoga County Agriculture and Farmland Protection Board will also review and rank all proposals prior to submission to the State.
If you are interested in getting started with the Site Planning process please contact Maria at 518-587-5554 x 1, firstname.lastname@example.org or Jaime at 518-884-4714, email@example.com by September 29, 2017 at the very latest. We will set up appointments with interested parties the following week.
If we don’t hear from you either by phone or email by September 29th, we will assume you aren’t interested in applying for state PDR in the spring 2018 grant round. We will of course keep you in mind for future rounds and notify you when future opportunities emerge.
NYSDAM has indicated that grant rounds will be offered every other year, so potentially the next state opportunity would be in 2020. There are other avenues of potential grant funding as well that may also be a fit for your land and we will be happy to discuss those with you at any time. We look forward to working with you to achieve your conservation goals!
—Saratoga County Planning Department
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