Farmland Protected Along Greenway in York

Farmland Protected Along Greenway in York

iJune 29, 2020

Genesee Valley Conservancy has added a new conservation project along Genesee Valley Greenway State Park in York this spring.  Located between miles 18 and 21 of the trail, this farmland project protects 2.4 miles of land directly adjacent to the Park, preserving the views and rural landscapes enjoyed while recreating on the trail. 

Two conservation easements placed on Batzing Farms will prevent the subdivision and loss of over 600 acres of important farmland in the Genesee Valley forever.  The conservation easements allow the land to remain owned by the Batzing family for continuation of their 5th generation farm.  Landowners Monica, Scott, and daughter Sarah Batzing, worked with Genesee Valley Conservancy to place these conservation protections on their farm. 

The project, endorsed by the Town of York, Livingston County, and New York State, is significant because of the high-quality farmland it includes.  Preserving highly productive soils is important to ensure local food production continues.  The property boats 56% USDA Prime soils, some of the best ground in New York State.   

Through the past century, the farm has grown dairy forages, cash crops including potatoes, sweet corn, peas, cabbage, and small grains on the extremely fertile and productive land to supplement their dairy enterprise.  Today, the farm remains primarily a dairy operation, while continuing to mix in other agricultural production to diversify their business. 

Genesee Valley Conservancy, celebrating its 30th year of local land conservation in 2020, has completed over 21,000 acres of conservation work in the Genesee Valley.  The Batzing project is among a select few that are adjacent to the Greenway.  When farmland and open space conservation are possible adjacent to an existing State Park or other protected lands, the benefits of the project are enhanced. 

In addition to protecting the Batzing farm for its agricultural values and economic returns, this project now enhances the user experience enjoyed along the Greenway trail.  Users will continue to enjoy the rural benefits of this trail, scenic views of the Genesee River and agricultural fields; not tract housing and largescale development.   

The Batzing project is Genesee Valley Conservancy’s seventh conservation project directly adjacent to Genesee Valley Greenway State Park.  In the Town of Leicester, between miles 29 and 32, several similar open space conservation projects were previously completed that similarly buffer the Park from development and protect the scenic views enjoyed by those using the trail. 

Scenic benefits of this project are not held exclusively to those using the Park.  The project protects over 2 miles of scenic views along public roads in York, helping maintain the character and rural landscape that is valued locally.   

With land along the Genesee River, the Batzing project also takes special consideration for the potential negative impacts that farming can have on water quality.  A special provision in the conservation agreement address the 1.7 miles of frontage that the farm has on the Genesee River and requires a 60ft permanent vegetative riparian buffer between the Genesee River and farm activities. Additionally, the established riparian buffer of mixed hard and softwood trees, shrubs and grasses provides excellent habitat for a broad variety of native wildlife along the shoreline of the Genesee River.  The Batzing project is the eleventh along the Genesee River for Genesee Valley Conservancy. 

Public open spaces, like Genesee Valley Greenway State Park, are taking on an increased importance this year (under unfortunate circumstances).  Adding protections to buffer the trail like the Batzing Farm conservation project, will help ensure the trail maintains its character and benefits it provides to the public today and for future generations. 

Those interested to learn more about the conservation work of Genesee Valley Conservancy including considerations for your own property can visit www.geneseevalleyconservancy.org.