American Farmland Trust (AFT) announced $88,000 in grants to seven partner organizations in the Hudson Valley Farmlink Network (HVFN) to support their work with farmers looking for land and retiring farm landowners who wish to keep their land in farming. Orange County Land Trust was awarded $8,385 to work with farmers and landowners in Orange County.
The award will enable the Orange County Land Trust to host workshops and training sessions for farmers and landowners, in partnership with the Chester Agricultural Center and the Ralph E. Ogden Foundation, and fund the creation of new outreach materials that feature information about farmland access, leasing, and conservation easements.
“The Orange County Land Trust (OCLT) is so pleased to have received funding from the Hudson Valley Farmlink Network in support of our efforts to connect farmers with available farmland,” says Jim Delaune, executive director at OCLT. “Our goal is to improve access to farmland in Orange County. As an HVFN partner, we benefit from collaboration with a region-wide wealth of experience.”
Photo Above by Angelo Marcialis
HVFN is comprised of 15 organizations, led by AFT, with a farmland finder website linking farmers and landowners that has been used by more than 35,000 people. HVFN offers free one-on-one assistance and has helped more than 130 farmers find land. It was launched with primary support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF).
“A two-prong approach is needed to help young and beginning farmers in their journey to finding land,” says David Haight, New York State Director for AFT. “We need to make it easy for all farmers and landowners to get easy access to information. At the same time, we need experts who can help with the technical, legal, and financial issues that can stop even the most ambitious aspiring farmers in their tracks. These funds will go a long way in putting boots on the ground to support farmers and landowners.”
“The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation is proud to help enable the transition of farmland to the next generation of farmers in New York by supporting AFT and the Hudson Valley Farmlink Network,” says Danielle Levoit, Program Officer for the Environment at DDCF. “Over the last four years, AFT has created a successful model for a network of partners coordinating to help farmers find land and protect some of our best regional farmland.”
Since 2014, AFT has awarded $258,000 to HVFN partner organizations. This year’s grants will support a wide range of projects that include educational and networking events, support for women farmers, site visits to evaluate soils, resources for Spanish-speaking farmers, and more.
Grant awardees include Agricultural Stewardship Association, Columbia Land Conservancy, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County, Glynwood, Orange County Land Trust, Saratoga PLAN and Westchester Land Trust.