New York State Canal Conference, September 21-23 in Geneva

New York State Canal Conference

In Harmony With Nature, People and Products
View of the Erie Canal

Sunday, September 21 to Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Ramada Geneva Lakefront Hotel, Geneva

For more information and to register, visit:
newyorkcanals.org/explore_canalconf2014.htm

The conference will bring together canal enthusiasts, historians, developers, elected officials and others to exchange ideas and learn more about the Erie Canalway.

July Draft of the Cayuga County Agriculture and Farmland Protection Plan

Ag Plan logoCayuga County releases second draft of the County Agriculture and Farmland Protection Plan

Public Hearing set for August 26

The July Draft of the Cayuga County Agriculture and Farmland Protection Plan is now available for review. This document incorporates recommendations and suggestions from the public on the earlier draft released in May.

The draft plan can be found on the project website at cayugacounty.us/agplan. A paper copy is also available for viewing at the Cayuga County Department of Planning and Economic Development offices located on the fifth floor of the County Office Building, 160 Genesee Street, Auburn, between the hours of 8 am and 3:30 pm.

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Conservation Easement Workshop, June 11 at Montezuma NWR

Having trouble deciding how to conserve the lands and waters you own? Are you looking to preserve your family land for future generations, but are unsure of your options?

The Finger Lakes Land Trust is hosting a conservation easement workshop in the Visitor Center at the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge (MNWR) on Wednesday, June 11 from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m.

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Cayuga County Agriculture and Farmland Protection Plan draft released for public comment

Ag Plan logoCayuga County Releases the Draft of the County Agriculture and Farmland Protection Plan

Will Hold Public Hearing on May 29

A draft of the updated Cayuga County Agriculture and Farmland Protection Plan was released May 14, 2014 for public review and comment. Prepared by the Cayuga County Department of Planning and Economic Development, the draft is an update to the existing county agriculture plan adopted in 1996. The plan contains a survey and analysis of existing agricultural practices and support services, including identified strengths, opportunities, needs and challenges. The plan also includes an implementation strategy to address needs and challenges, take advantage of identified opportunities and protect the county’s agricultural strengths.

An overview of the draft will be presented on May 29, 2014 at 7 pm, at the Cayuga-Onondaga BOCES at 1879 West Genesee Street Road, Auburn. Immediately following the presentation, an opportunity for public input will be provided at a public hearing held by the Cayuga County Agriculture and Farmland Protection Board.

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New State Funding to Protect Farmland with Zoning Rewrites and Transfer of Development Rights Programs

The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets announced on December 16 two new funding opportunities for Farmland Protection Implementation Projects.

Grants are available to municipalities, including cities, towns and villages, for two purposes:

  1. remove unreasonable restrictions from municipal land use and subdivision regulations, zoning, and site plan requirements pertaining to agricultural land and farm operations,
    AND/OR
  2. establish an implementation-ready Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) program for farmland protection.

Maximum funding will be $15,000 per project to a single municipality or $30,000 per project for two municipalities applying jointly. Awarded municipalities will have to provide a 25 percent local funding match. Of that match, at least 20 percent must be in cash; the rest of the match can be in-kind contributions.

A request for applications (RFA) and application materials are available on the website of the Department of Agriculture and Markets at
http://www.agriculture.ny.gov/RFPS.html
Look for the heading for “Farmland Protection Implementation Grants”.

It appears that applications will be accepted immediately, and will continue to be accepted on a rolling basis until all $500,000 of the available state-wide funds are awarded.

The Department of Agriculture and Markets is hosting three web seminars in January to answer questions and help guide potential applicant municipalities. The dates and times of the webinars will be:

  • January 15, 2014, between 9:00am-12:30pm
  • January 22, 2014, between 9:00am-12:30pm
  • January 29, 2014, between 9:00am-12:30pm

Registration and information about the webinars is available on the Ag & Markets’s RFP web page.

For more information, contact David Behm, Farmland Protection Program Manager, at by phone at (518) 485-7729 or by email.

More news about this round of Farmland Protection Implementation Grants:

The County-Wide Agriculture and Farmland Protection Plan Update Has Begun

This spring, the Planning Department and the County Agriculture and Farmland Protection Board (AFPB) launched an 18-month process to update the county-wide Agriculture and Farmland Protection Plan. The plan was first written in 1996.  Creating a new plan will require extensive public participation from all facets of our community such as farmers, agricultural service and supply industries, processors, retailers, and consumers.  The new plan will aim to identify complementary strategies to protect our farmland from future development and to support and develop our agricultural economy.  To that end, we will be taking a hard look at the current strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to our farmland and agricultural economy.  We will focus on meaningful actions that our county, towns, villages, and residents can take to strengthen our farming communities and facilitate economic success.

The project’s steering committee, made up of county AFPB members and stakeholders from the agricultural community, will hold its first meeting in late July.  Focus groups and public meetings to gather input will be held this fall and winter, when farmers will have a little more time on their hands.  Meanwhile, project leader and new county Planner, Rima Shamieh, is hard at work putting together a mapped inventory of all the county’s contributors to the agricultural economy, gathering background information, and analyzing local land use regulations for a county-wide “farm-friendly audit.”  Rima’s being assisted by a Master’s of Regional Planning student summer intern from Cornell University, Caitlyn Liu.

Stay tuned for more on this topic in the coming months!  Also, check out the County Planning website for more information and resources, and to sign up for the project email list (as soon as the County website updates are completed…).