Farmland to be Protected in Groveland, Nunda, Portage, and Mount Morris
Two dairy farms in the Genesee Valley have been selected by New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets for permanent protection. Each farm was endorsed by Livingston County after a competitive ranking process and were also endorsed by the towns in which the farmland is located. These farms will be protected through New York’s Farmland Protection Program by the local not-for-profit Genesee Valley Conservancy.
The farms to be protected are the Roll-N-View Farm, based in the Town of Nunda with lands included in the Towns of Portage and Mount Morris and the Highgrove Farm located in the Town of Groveland.
The lands in Mount Morris and Portage will be the first conservation projects by the Genesee Valley Conservancy in those towns. The lands in Groveland and Nunda will add to existing conservation projects in those towns by the Conservancy dating back to 1999.
The Roll-N-View Farm is owned and operated by second generation farmer Gary Galton and his son Todd Galton. The Galton family has been farming in Livingston County since 1945.
Today, the Galton’s milk 1,200 cows and supply milk to places including Heluva Good Cheese. The farm grows their own forages to feed the dairy herd and grows various cash crops including peas, snap beans, sweet corn, and soybeans. This farmland protection project will protect 1,384 acres that are comprised of 26% USDA Prime soils and 48% NYS Important soils.
In addition to protecting quality soils for continued agricultural production, this project will prevent development and subdivision of important views and rural character bordering Letchworth State Park and Genesee Valley Greenway State Park. Over one and a quarter miles along Genesee Valley Greenway State Park will be protected; ensuring views enjoyed when hiking and biking through the park will be conserved for generations to come.
The Highgrove Farm, located in the Town of Groveland, is owned by husband and wife Jon and Gail White, and their son Morgan White. The White’s farm is one of the few bicentennial farms in Livingston County, having started in 1813. Jon is the sixth generation on the land and his son Morgan represents the seventh generation.
The White’s milk 150 Holsteins, raise beef cattle, grow small grain crops, alfalfa, processing vegetables, and edible dry beans. The project will protect 1,055 acres of land made up of 60% USDA Prime soils and 8% NYS Important soils.
Nearly 90% of the land in the Highgrove project had been identified by the Town of Groveland in their most recent Farmland Protection Plan as an “Agricultural Protection Area” where the Town wishes to maintain a strong land base of agriculture for the community’s future - directing development elsewhere in the Town where it won’t take highly productive soils out of production.
These farmland protections announced this week by New York State were aimed at helping dairy farms with highly productive soils protect their land, transition to the next generation, and diversify their business so they are not solely depended on the volatility of dairy prices which have been at record lows recently.
Protecting Working Dairy Farms
In 2018, three other local dairy farms were also selected for farmland protection efforts through this same farmland protection program aimed at dairy farms. Genesee Valley Conservancy is currently working with the Silver Meadows Farm (Castile, Perry), True Farm (Perry, Covington), and Batzing Farm (York) to complete the process of placing conservation easements on those farms to prevent development and subdivision of important farmland soils.
The newly selected working farms will protect over 4,270 acres of highly productive agricultural soils with Genesee Valley Conservancy.
The continued success of local farmland protection efforts is the result of long term partnerships created between Genesee Valley Conservancy, the Livingston County and Wyoming County Farmland Protection Boards, and towns in the Genesee Valley within which the farms are located. A competitive pre-screening program run by each county’s farmland protection board identifies the most likely farms to be successful when applying to the State program and to ensure the farms selected match local conservation planning.
Genesee Valley Conservancy has been working for 29 years to identify the most important land resources in the area and working with interested landowners to protect those lands for future generations. Be it working farmland, important wildlife habitat, or recreation lands that provide public access for education and enjoyment, Genesee Valley Conservancy continues to provide conservation options to private landowners to ensure future generations can enjoy the Genesee Valley that we cherish today.
Learn More About Farmland Protection
Owners of farmland interested in learning more about farmland protection programs should contact Genesee Valley Conservancy (585-243-2190). Informational workshops are held in Livingston and Wyoming Counties as part of a local pre-selection process where the respective farmland protection boards seek interested farms, identify the highest priority lands, and work to apply for funding from New York State to assist with land protection efforts.