The Orange County Land Trust has been awarded a NYS Farmland Implementation Program Grant to protect a 152-acre farm in the Town of Montgomery. Willow Hill Farm is a beautiful and well- known horse farm located on a bend in the Wallkill River off of Route 211.
This grant will allow the Land Trust to work with the farm’s owners to purchase a conservation easement that will protect the property for agricultural use. The easement will also help protect the integrity of the Wallkill River by preserving the forest along its banks. The grant award is for $2,000,000, the maximum available through this grant program.
The farm property is visible from Interstate 84 and NYS Route 211. More than 50% of the farmland consists of prime agricultural soils, with an additional 19% consisting of soils of statewide importance.
Now begins the process of working with the landowner to put the conservation easement in place. The project will be complete near the end of 2019 or early 2020.
“Orange County Land Trust is looking forward to working with Willow Hill Farm on this project,” said Executive Director Jim Delaune. “Our goal through projects like this is to preserve a critical mass of good farmland to make sure that agriculture remains part of the character and economy of our communities in the future. Thank you to Governor Cuomo and Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard Ball for supporting this vital project, as well as County Executive Steven Neuhaus, the Orange County legislature, and the Orange County Agriculture & Farmland Protection Board.”
The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets administers the Farmland Protection Implementation Grant program, the funding for which is allocated from New York State’s Environmental Protection Fund (EPF).