Farmland Protection in the Capital Region
The Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy partners with farmers across Albany, Montgomery, and Schenectady Counties to protect their land. Working landscapes are one of our Conservation Priority Areas, and we believe that farmlands need to be conserved now and forever.
MHLC’s service area features historic and productive farmlands, particularly in the Hudson and Mohawk River valleys. These are areas with rich soils which have been the focus of agriculture since before European settlement. By ensuring that these fertile soils continue to be used for food production, we create a more sustainable Capital Region and provide access to healthy foods, something all communities need.
Check out our Featured Farm Stories page for details about our current farmland projects.
The Need for Working Farms
Development threatens farmland every day: from housing complexes to solar projects, open spaces in rural areas are in high demand, and the pressure is growing. The American Farmland Trust’s recent report states that 3 acres of farmland are lost every minute in the United States, making the need for farmland protection more important than ever.
We need to protect farmland and working landscapes to ensure the future of food production in our region.
MHLC works to preserve farmlands through conservation easements. These legal agreements between the Conservancy and the land owner limit future development while encouraging agricultural uses on the land. Easements can be donated by the land owner or they can be purchased. Many of our purchased easements are funded through grants.
Do you have farmland you’d like to protect? You can read more about conservation options for land at our Conserve Your Land page, or contact Conservation Director Sarah Walsh by phone (518-436-6346 x104) or e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Connecting Farmers to the Land
In 2018, MHLC joined the Hudson Valley Farmlink Network, a project of the American Farmland Trust which brings partners together to ensure “the availability of farmland in the Hudson Valley for the farmers of today and tomorrow”. One of the main charges of this network is to connect farmers with one another and with farmland, helping to transition to the next generation of farmers. This transition helps ensure that farmland will continue to be in agricultural production. Interested farmers can reach out to MHLC to connect to the network and help new farmers find viable agricultural lands. You can visit their page in the Resources For Farmers section below.
Identifying Future Farmland Protection Projects
MHLC assesses each conservation project on a case-by-case basis. Farmland protection projects must follow New York State’s Sound Agricultural Practices and fit into our larger conservation priorities for our work in the Hudson and Mohawk River Valleys.
If you are looking for a purchase of conservation easement, a grant fund will be required to facilitate this transaction. Funding through the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Farmland Protection Implementation Grants Program could be a possible source. The next grant cycle is anticipated to be released in 2020. If you are looking to donate a conservation easement on your farmland, please feel free to contact MHLC to learn more about your conservation options.
In all cases, working lands must meet our larger conservation priorities in order to be considered for protection. To determine if your farmland fits our larger conservation priorities, please visit our Conserve Your Land webpage.
Resources for Farmers