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Event to Rally Support for Growing NY’s Local Food Economies and Protecting Farmland


David Haight, New York State Director, American Farmland Trust: (518) 581-0078, dhaight@farmland.org


Saratoga Spring, N.Y., November 5, 2012 —Farmers across New York that have permanently protected their farms through the state’s Farmland Protection Program will be recognized during the lunchtime program at Harvesting Opportunities in New York: Growing Local Food Economies and Protecting Farmland, a conference designed to inspire and educate New Yorkers to support agriculture, strengthen local farm and food economies, and get involved in protecting farmland. The one-day conference will take place on November 15 at the Hotel Albany in downtown Albany, New York.

New York’s Farmland Protection Program permanently protects farmland from real estate development by providing funding to purchase conservation easements from farmers. The farmers reinvest the funds they receive in exchange for protecting their land in the farm business and help transfer farm operations to the next generation of farmers.

“I just couldn’t stand to see the development come in and take over,” said Gary Wyffels of Wyffels Farm, who worked with the Finger Lakes Land Trust to protect his family’s farm, which raises beef cattle in Canandaigua.  “We could have gotten a whole lot more money if we sold it to a developer but I couldn’t live with houses in my backyard. I know almost every stone in those fields.” Protected farms from Long Island, the Hudson Valley and Capital Region, the Finger Lakes and Western New York will be highlighted at the Harvesting Opportunities conference.

Harvesting Opportunities in New York is bringing together farmers, public officials, land trusts, local food and public health leaders and concerned citizens to examine the potential to grow New York’s economy by strengthening connections between farmers and local consumers and protecting the land that is critical to farming.

The program will include remarks by Verlyn Klinkenborg a member of the New York Times Editorial Board, and author of The Rural Life, followed by a series of nine concurrent workshops. A locally sourced Thanksgiving-themed lunch will be served, along with a program featuring a presentation about farms across New York that were permanently protected last year through the state’s Farmland Protection Program.

“This conference will motivate New Yorkers to work together to grow our local food economies and save the irreplaceable farmland on which New York’s farmers depend,” said American Farmland Trust New York State Director David Haight. 

The cost to attend Harvesting Opportunities is $85. For more information and to register, visit http://newyork.farmland.org/harvesting-opportunities.

Farms Permanently Protected through New York's Farmland Protection Program FY 2011-2012

Stewart Farm   Town of Easton    Washington County
Slocum Farm   Town of Easton   Washington County
Cannon Cattle Ranch Farm    Town of Pittstown          Rensselaer County
Hooskip Farm      Hoosick & Petersburgh    Rensselaer County
Clark Family Farm   Hoosick, Petersburgh, Jackson Rensselaer & Washington Counties
Hemlock Hill Farm  Yorktown & Cortlandt  Westchester County
Chazy Orchards  Town of Chazy   Clinton County
LaPierre   Town of Champlain  Clinton County
Bellevale Farm      Town of Warwick Orange County
Willow Marsh  Town of Ballston   Saratoga County
Hodun Town of Riverhead Suffolk County
Wyffels' Farm LLC  Town of Canandaigua Ontario County
Hicks Family Farm   Town of Canandaigua  Ontario County
Ringwood Farms   Town of Springfield  Otsego County
Wilson Farm Town of Torrey Yates County
Gillette Farm Town of Jerusalem  Yates County
Janas Farm   Town of Fleming     Cayuga County
Fisher Farm Town of Fleming  Cayuga County
Bensvue Farms LLC Town of Dryden Tompkins County
Gordon Farm  Town of Amherst  Erie County




American Farmland Trust is the nation's leading conservation organization dedicated to protecting farmland, promoting sound farming practices and keeping farmers on the land. Since its founding in 1980 by a group of farmers and citizens concerned about the rapid loss of farmland to development, AFT has helped save millions of acres of farmland from development and led the way for the adoption of conservation practices on millions more.

AFT's national office is located in Washington, DC. Phone: 202-331-7300. For more information, visit www.farmland.org.

American Farmland Trust