SARATOGA -- Two farm preservation projects in the town of Saratoga are receiving more than $1.8 million in state money, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced Monday.
The $1 million for preserving part of the Hanehan Family Farm and $823,704 for preserving part of the Drumm farm were among $18.6 million Cuomo announced for the preservation of 25 dairy farms around the state.
Dairy farmers continue to face challenges from prolonged low milk prices, increasing the threat of conversion of viable agricultural land to nonfarm development, the governor's office said in its annou,cement.
"Agriculture is a critical component of our upstate economy and our farms improve the quality of life for all New Yorkers," Cuomo said. "They provide fresh and nutritious food and beverages to our communities and are home to some of New York's most scenic landscapes. This program will help ensure our farms continue their successful operations for future generations."
The two grants in Saratoga County were awarded to Saratoga PLAN, the land preservation organization. The organization will administer conservation easements which will keep the land from being converted to other uses.
At the Drumm site on Burgoyne and Cemetery roads and state Route 32 outside Schuylerville, 172 acres are being conserved. The Hanehan easement will involve two different farm properties, together totaling 175 acres.
Part of the reason for the state funding is the pressure farmers in Saratoga County face to sell their land to developers, said Michael Horn, Saratoga PLAN's conservation director. The payments are intended to compensate farmers for their development rights, without their having to sell the land.
"Saratoga County is the fastest-growing county in upstate New York," Horn said. "Farming is under tremendous pressure, because farmland is open and well-drained, the kind of land that developers like."
In both cases, the farmers are contributing by donating part of the value of the land and receiving less than they could, PLAN Executive Director Maria Trabka said.
Horn said the Drumm property, now leased as cropland by Koval Brothers Dairy, is in the viewshed of the Saratoga Monument in Victory, and some action from the Revolutionary War's Battles of Saratoga occurred in the area. It is close to the villages of Victory and Schuylerville.
One conserved Hanehan property is on County Route 68, and involved 118 acres belonging to Charlie and Barbara Hanehan and used as woodland or for growing crops. The other is a 57-acre property on County Route 67 belonging to Clifford and Kathleen Hanehan, and used for crops and pasture.
Also in the Capital Region, the Governor's Office announced that $960,971 in funding was awarded to the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy to protect 823 acres at Creek Acres Farm, a dairy operation on state Route 30 in the town of Florida in Montgomery County.