The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, in partnership with the American Farmland Trust, requested the U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) help it gather information about New York's long time Farmland Protection Program. The study was conducted by the NASS New York Field Office.
This project specifically targeted past participants in the Farmland Protection Program funded by New York State. The study had several objectives and in general was designed to help understand how participants used funds from sale of development rights and how the Program affected the viability of those farms. Other objectives included assessing the pros and cons of the program, participant attitudes and overall satisfaction with the program.
Overall satisfaction with the Farmland Protection Program was high. Seventy-five percent of participants said they were very satisfied.
Preserving land was the primary motivation to participate. Sixty-eight percent of farmers selling development rights indicated they did so to preserve land for future farming and future generations.
Preserving the rural community was a major benefit of the Program. Survey results showed that preserving rural communities ranked as the highest benefit of the Farmland Protection Program.
Without the Farmland Protection Program, significant pieces of land would have been lost to farming. Slightly under one-half of the survey respondents, 46 percent, indicated their land would have been developed for housing or another use if the Farmland Protection Program was not in place.
Money was used to keep farmers in business and preserve their future. Thirty percent of the farmers used funds from the Program primarily to pay down debt followed by purchasing more farmland