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Cayuga farmers win big, as $1.5M announced for two projects

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that a total of $1,597,067 in funding has been awarded to two Cayuga County Farms to permanently protect their farmland in Cayuga County. NYS Department of Agriculture & Markets (NYSDAM) administers this competitive grant program designed to protect valuable and at-risk farmland throughout New York State.

The Brutus Hill Farm received $1,090,101 to protect 522 acres of farmland- 422 acres in the Town of Brutus and 100 acres in the Town of Elbridge in Onondaga County. Koon Farms received $506,966 to protect 176 acres of farmland- 135 in the Town of Fleming and 41 acres in the Town of Aurelius. The farms received support for their applications to NYSDAM from the Cayuga County Agriculture & Farmland Protection Board as well as their respective Town Boards earlier this year. Both farms will be working with the New York Agricultural Land Trust (NYALT) to fulfill the requirements of their grants, and NYALT will ultimately hold and monitor these conservation easements.

In its application for Brutus Hill Farm, NYALT stated “This land trust will permanently protect property owned by the O’Connor family and Mary Alley. This project, located in Cayuga and Onondaga Counties, will help facilitate the acquisition of property presently leased by the O’Connor family. Brutus Hill Farm operates a 175- cow dairy on this 522-acre property, which is comprised of 43% prime soils and 17% statewide important soils. The milk produced on the farm is marketed through the Byrne Dairy.”

In its application for Koon Farm, NYALT stated “This land trust will permanently protect property owned by the Koon family and operated as part of a nearby dairy farm. This project, located in Cayuga County, will help facilitate a transition of ownership to the 7th generation of the Koon family. For the past 50 years, the dairy farm has utilized this 176-acre property in its 200-cow dairy operation; this property is comprised of 54% prime soils and 27% statewide important soils. The milk produced on the farm is marketed through Byrne Dairy; Cayuga County’s dairy industry is ranked 2nd in the state.”



“The Cayuga County Agriculture & Farmland Protection Board has worked diligently with farmers over the past 18 years to protect farmland in Cayuga County. With the addition of these two most recent awards, the Board has helped protect a total of 7,891.18 acres on 15 farms; and helped secure $14,199,629 in farmland protection funding from NYS Agriculture and Markets,” said J. Justin Woods, County Administrator. “We thank the Governor for his continued support of Agriculture, which is one of the critical sectors of our economy in Central NY.”

Read Governor Cuomo’s press release or visit the Cayuga County Department of Planning & Economic Development’s Purchase of Development Rights webpage for more information.

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