New York’s farmers and communities are ready for state government to take a fresh look at the way it approaches farmland protection. Farmers and the state’s $3.6 billion agricultural industry face increased competition for productive land from poorly planned development. Meanwhile, local governments on Long Island, the Hudson Valley and a growing number of areas in Upstate New York are challenged by the task of managing sprawling development while maintaining their quality of life and community character. These trends stretch local and state budgets, drive up property taxes and threaten New York’s economic future.
Never before have the challenges facing New York’s farmers and communities been greater. Three of the Top Twenty Most Threatened Farming Regions in the country are located in New York. Farmland loss has accelerated with almost 26,000 acres being developed annually in the state — more than twice the amount of farmland being protected. New York’s Farmland Protection Program has made great strides in its 15 year history but has only protected 17,500 of the state’s 7.6 million acres of farmland. The state has spent the second lowest per capita and third lowest overall on farmland protection of all Northeastern states — putting New York’s farmers at a competitive disadvantage and limiting options available to communities as they struggle to deal with growing land use changes.
New York State can play a critical leadership role in supporting local economies and communities by significantly increasing the pace of farmland protection in New York. The pace of farmland protection must be increased so that at least 1 acre of farmland s protected for every acre of farmland that s developed n New York — “An Acre for An Acre”.
To achieve this bold objective, New York must:
• Increase State Funding and Expand Financial Incentives to Double the Farmland Protected Annually
• Significantly Reduce the Time Needed to Complete State Farmland Protection Projects
• Create Local and State Strategic Plans for Farmland Protection