Michael P. Sweeton Joins Orange County Land Trust Staff

Retired Supervisor’s Next Endeavor Dedicated to Farmland Preservation

Former Warwick Town Supervisor Michael P. Sweeton will serve as Community Liaison for the Orange County Land Trust. As an OCLT staff member, Sweeton will assist local municipalities on farmland and open space protection planning.

During his 21-year tenure as Town Supervisor, Sweeton leveraged Warwick’s Purchase of Development Rights (PDR) Program to protect nearly 5,000 acres of land, including 38 working farms. The town has served as a case study for municipalities across the country that seek to replicate the success of their PDR program. The Town has also been the recipient of several NYS Farmland Protection Implementation Grants, a conservation easement program administered and funded by the NYS Department of Agriculture & Markets.

Michael Sweeton OCLT Community Liasion

“Preserving land in turn preserves quality of life,” stated Executive Director Jim Delaune. “Areas with preserved farmland and wilderness are desirable for residents and homebuyers because it enhances home values, supports local agriculture, boosts tourism, and provides countless health benefits. Towns and villages in Orange County and beyond can stand to benefit from land preservation just as Warwick has and for those municipalities that want to explore all of the options at their disposal, Mike will be available to work with them and provide guidance as needed.”

Like the State’s Department of Agriculture and Markets, the USDA-Natural Resource Conservation Service also provides competitive funding to municipalities, government agencies, and qualified non-profit organizations, like the Land Trust, to secure conservation easements on viable farmland. OCLT Director of Conservation Kyle Sanduski said, “If a particular farm meets the grant criteria set by either agency, they may be a strong candidate for conservation funding.”

Michael P. Sweeton said: “While my days advocating for agriculture and conservation in Town Hall are over, I’m excited for this opportunity with OCLT to take all that I’ve learned in Warwick with me on the road and help local communities take charge.”

Delaune added: “Serving the public good comes second nature to Mike; his role with OCLT is just an extension of that, and we could not be more excited to work with him again.