Farmland funding boost sought - lawmakers note rising pressure from developers
 
(Note: This is language deception, carefully crafted to blame 'developers' for any pressures being brought to bear upon farmers. In truth, The Wildlands Project and other related land acquisition schemes -- to remove people from a majority of America in order to 'protect and restore' also known as Control this country and its resources, from land and water to the people themselves -- along with the rising taxes that happen when vast tracts of land are removed from the tax rolls by 'nonprofits', is the name of this tune. Farmers would feel no pressure if the amount of land left for people to do anything with -- from building a middle-class home to simply exercising responsible resource providing and harvest of resources -- were not being lessened every day by a global control agenda. 'Protection,' 'preservation,' 'conservation' -- these are the stalking horses of Control.)
 
March 20, 2004
 
By Yancey Roy, Albany bureau
 
150 State St.
 
Albany, NY 12207
 
 
Press and Sun-Bulletin
 
P.O. Box 1270
 
Binghamton, New York 13902-1270
 
607-798-1124
 
Fax: 607-798-1113
 
 
To submit a Letter to the Editor: presssun@pronetisp.net
 
Albany, New York - Assembly Republicans and preservationists say New York should dramatically increase the amount of money it earmarks for preserving family farms by paying farmers for their development rights.
 
New York has lost 1,000 farms in the last two years alone, according to a Republican task force report. The rising cost of farming has put more pressure on farmers to sell land to developers. As a result, more farmers are asking the state for help.

"Clearly, the need is there," said Assemblyman Clifford Crouch, R-Guilford. "We have to be more aggressive on this."

Crouch and other Assembly Republicans want the state to set aside $24 million in its farmland protection program -- double the amount from last year. The program pays farmers to forgo development rights in exchange for a promise to keep their land in agricultural production forever.

Scott Whittaker, a Whitney Point dairy farmer and president of the Broome County Farm Bureau, said he hasn't seen heavy development pressure locally. He said the move would have a much bigger effect on farmers downstate, particularly on Long Island.

"I just haven't seen that pressure yet," he said. "Right now, I don't know if it's a necessity."

Still, given the opportunity, local farmers could take advantage of the extra money to preserve family farms, Whittaker said.

Pam Moore, who runs an organic dairy farm in Nichols with her husband, Rob, said she has seen increased pressure for alternative land use. Because their farm is on a hill, development pressure has been less intense, but there are gravel mines, trailer parks and an industrial park within a mile of their farm.

"It's clear there is pressure and there are forces at work driving up land prices," she said.

In contrast, Gov. George E. Pataki has suggested reducing the program from $12 million to $8.5 million in his proposed budget. It was one of many cuts aimed at closing a $5 billion deficit. The American Farmland Trust has asked the Senate and Assembly to bump it to $17 million.

"We think that much is needed in light of the demand," said Jerry Cosgrove of the farmland trust.

Last year, 102 farms covering 19,000 acres across New York applied to the program, requesting $69 million. Just 16 grants were awarded, totaling $12 million and protecting 6,000 acres.

Tioga County Legislator John A. King, R-Spencer, praised the plan to put more money into farmland protection.

"It seems agriculture gets short-changed a lot of times and many, many farms are being turned into other things," he said.

King, a semiretired dairy farmer, said county farmers can get help applying to the program through the Tioga County Agriculture and Farmland Protection Board, which he chairs. One local farm has applied so far, he said.

Farmers in Broome County also can receive assistance by calling Cornell Cooperative Extension of Broome County, said Krys Cail, an agricultural economic development specialist.

A key Democrat said the party supports allocating more money than Pataki has suggested.

"We're certainly in strong support of the program and expect that we'll do at least as good as last year," said Assembly Environmental Conservation Chairman Tom DiNapoli, D-Nassau County.

DiNapoli said he supports the idea of increasing the fund to $17 million but noted the state faces a tight budget.

Staff Writer Scott Rockefeller rockefeller@pressconnects.com contributed to this report.

Copyright 2004 Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin

http://www.pressconnects.com/today/news/stories/ne032004s76108.shtml

The helpful paper even provides this for the farmers:

Farmers in Broome and Tioga counties can learn more about the purchase of development rights by calling their local Cornell Cooperative Extension office. In Broome, call Krys Cail at 772-8954, Ext. 119. In Tioga, call Andy Fagan at 687-4020.