POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. -- The Dutchess County Partnership for Manageable Growth program (PMG) will provide more than $935,000 to help permanently protect six farms across Dutchess, said County Executive Marc Molinaro.
Molinaro said the county is prioritizing preservation, citing as evidence the facts that county leadership set aside funding for the PMG in last year's budget for the first time since 2008 and that $1 million was made available for Open Space and Farmland Protection Grants or Water and Wastewater Facility Planning and Development Grants.
"The Partnership for Manageable Growth program allows us to strategically preserve farmlands that are the basis for agriculture," Molinaro said, noting that farming is a "vital, diverse and growing economic engine throughout the county."
Aside from the economic benefit, Molinaro said agriculture has played an important role in Dutchess County's past and will continue to do so in its future.
"Each of these six projects -- whether it is a family farm dating back centuries, a community-supported agriculture operation or a gateway into Dutchess County -- embodies the spirit of the PMG program, protecting the land and fostering agriculture for subsequent generations," he said.
The six farms were chosen after the County Planning Board evaluated proposed projects using objective criteria, met with the farmers at each property and subsequently provided funding recommendations, Molinaro said. Each of the six is contained in one of the county's Agricultural Priority Areas.
"These farms feature high-quality soil to yield high-caliber crops, which, in turn, supplies an economic benefit to the County," said Hans Klingzahn, the county's Planning Board chairman. "They are located in key gateway areas ... they protect natural resources like wildlife and water, and hold an historic importance for the County. ...”
The six properties include:
- Caora Farm - town of North East - a 78-acre property that is home to a woman-owned and operated diversified sheep farm.
- Chaseholm Farm - town of Pine Plains - a 175-acre property that is home to a small multi-generational family farm.
- Duncandale Farm - town of North East - a 168-acre property owned by the Duncan family since the 1700s that currently produces hay for beef and dairy cattle replacement.
- Steel/Great Song Farm - town of Milan - an 88-acre active farm that includes a 110-member community-supported agriculture operation, a 30-beehive apiary and pastures for chickens, cows and draft horses.
- Manne Farm - town of East Fishkill - a 38-acre field actively farmed by the Jackson family that stands as a symbol of the county's agricultural and natural heritage.
- Locust Grove Farm - town of Pleasant Valley - a 167-acre property that has been continuously operated as a dairy farm since the early 1800s and is currently leased for that purpose by Hackett Holsteins.
Created in 1999, the PMG 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 3,300 acres of farmland and open space in Dutchess County.
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