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Dutchess County Executive

Albany County Executive

Columbia County Board of Supervisors
Greene County Legislature
Orange County Executive
Putnam County Executive

Ulster County Executive

Rensselaer County Executive
Rockland County Executive
Saratoga County Board of Supervisors
Sullivan County Legislature
Washington County Board of Supervisors
Westchester County Executive

Contact: Marcus Molinaro, County Executive, Dutchess County, 845 486 2000, countyexec@dutchessny.gov
Michael Hein, County Executive, Ulster County, 845 340 3800, exec@co.ulster.ny.us


March 10, 2015

County Leaders in Hudson Valley Support

Governor Cuomos Farmland Preservation Proposal
HUDSON VALLEY, NYDutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro, Ulster County Executive Mike Hein,
Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy, Columbia County Board of Supervisors Chairman Patrick Grattan,
Greene County Legislature Chairman Kevin Lewis, Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus, Putnam County
Executive MaryEllen Odell, Rensselaer County Executive Kathleen Jimino, Rockland County Executive Ed Day,
Saratoga County Board of Supervisors Chairman Matthew Veitch, Sullivan County Legislature Chairman Scott B.
Samuelson, Washington County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jim Lindsay and Westchester County Executive
Rob Astorino are signaling their support for a state investment of $20 million for farmland protection in the Hudson
Valley. The funding was proposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in his executive budget, and the 11 county leaders are
calling for support from the New York State Legislature to ensure the funding makes the final budget, due to be
enacted in April. The county leaders state that preserving farmland offers numerous economic, public health and
agriculture benefits, and also helps provide more fresh, local food to meet growing demand in the Hudson Valley
and New York City.
Approximately 11 million New Yorkers, half the states population, rely upon Hudson Valley farms as a source of
fresh produce and foods. Some of the states fastest growing countiesincluding Orange, Rockland, Saratoga and
Westchesterderive food that comes from Hudson Valley farms. Hudson Valley agriculture is an $800-million
industry that is ripe for expansion in part because the unmet demand each year for valley-grown food in New York
City approaches $1 billion annually. Hudson Valley farms also are recognized for the role they play in maintaining
scenic landscapes, rural heritage and quality of life, all of which help drive a multibillion-dollar tourism industry
and fuel economic growth.
The public is made healthier by preserving Hudson Valley farms. Family-owned farms in the region are important
to secure as a source of nourishing food and conserved farmland also safeguards wildlife habitat and
environmentally sensitive areas, including local aquifers and drinking-water supplies. Finally, eating healthier foods
that dont travel across the nation or world to reach consumers improves peoples health and the environment.
Despite rising consumer interest in farm-fresh food, the valley lost dozens of farms over the last five years. The
high cost of land here makes it impossible for most farmers to buy land to expand their operations or for younger
farmers to enter the business. The $20 million in state funding would join substantial monies being allocated to
farmland preservation by county and municipal governments as well as private groups such as Scenic Hudson. Over
the past two decades, conservation easementspaying farmers a portion of their lands market value to ensure its
permanent protectionhave provided more than $100 million to valley farmers. Farmland protected by an
easement is made more affordable and helps promote the next generation of sustainable agriculture.

Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro said, Protecting our farmland is critical to preserving our community
character and promoting local agriculture. Agriculture is one of Dutchess Countys primary industries, with
enormous potential for expanded growth. We are hopeful the state legislature will support Governor Cuomos
proposal of $20 million for Hudson Valley farmland protection.
Ulster County Executive Mike Hein said, As someone who was born and raised on a working farm in Ulster
County, I have a special appreciation for farmland preservation and the importance of agriculture to our regional
economy. The Governors initiative provides critical support towards achieving a more sustainable and resilient
local food system while protecting the quality of life for residents across the Hudson Valley.
Orange Countys agricultural sector is critical to our economy and local heritage, said Orange County Executive
Steve Neuhaus. I applaud the Governors commitment to farmland preservation as a way to enhance the quality of
life in the Hudson Valley and increase economic growth through agritourism and other rural initiatives.
Growing our economy while preserving the environment requires striking the right balance between commerce
and nature, said Westchester County Executive Robert P. Astorino. Farmland protection strikes a smart balance
by preserving land, putting healthy food on tables, promoting jobs, saving our agricultural traditions and keeping
local businesses strong.
Saratoga County has a great history of Farmland and Open Space protection. As a fast-growing County within
New York, it is critical that we preserve as much open land and farms from the encroachment of suburban sprawl
upon our landscape. For 2015, we restored our Open Space and Farmland Protection fund with $250,000 and
additionally appropriated $100,000 for trail development, said Saratoga County Board of Supervisors Chairman
Matthew Veitch.
I am pleased to support this investment in farmland protection as Albany County, with over 71,000 acres of land
devoted to farming, has been doing and will continue to do, said Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy. In
2013, we reopened Lawsons Lake, our 420-acre park, giving the public the opportunity to appreciate the benefits
of land preservation; Albany County has passed an Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan, a County Right to
Farm Law, and adopted a resolution to purchase a portion of its food from local farmers and markets. Last month,
the town of Berne purchased 350 acres in the Helderbergs to preserve the natural beauty in the hill towns. Albany
County is working to enhance our open space and agricultural opportunities and this new investment will further
protect family farms.
The future of agriculture in Columbia County looks very bright. Many farm products such as cheese are now sold
throughout the eastern United States, said Columbia County Board of Supervisors Chairman Patrick Grattan. We
must encourage the growth of the Farm to Market enterprises in Columbia County.
The governors commitment to farmland protection in the Hudson Valley is in addition to a $30-million
commitment to six counties in the states Southern Tier for agricultural protection and related economic
development, and $14 million in funding for farmland protection statewide to be funded via the states
Environmental Protection Fund.
An enhanced state commitment to preserving Hudson Valley farms aligns with numerous state policies and plans.
The draft state Open Space Conservation Plan, the Hudson River Estuary Action Agenda and Mid-Hudson
Regional Economic Development Council and Capital District Regional Economic Development Council identify
preservation of the valleys working family farms as a priority.