Six Farms to be Permanently Protected
Six Genesee Valley farms have been selected by New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets for permanent farmland protection. Over $10 million will be invested locally to protect over 4,270 acres of highly productive agricultural lands as working farms for future generations.
The selected farms are the Batzing Farm (York), Silver Meadows Farm (Castile, Perry), True Farm (Perry), Mulligan Farm (Avon), Kingston Farm (Geneseo), and the Gary Swede Farm (Covington, Perry, Leicester). Together, these working farm families will protect over 4,270 acres of highly productive agricultural soils with Genesee Valley Conservancy.
This is an unprecedented level of funding to the Genesee Valley for farmland protection. This State program has existed for 25 years and has helped to protect over 7,700 acres to-date of the most productive land in the Genesee Valley.
In addition to being outstanding individual farms, these projects fit significantly into the regional conservation picture. Each project is adjacent to an existing farmland protection project, three of the farms border New York State parks (Silver Lake State Park and Genesee Valley Greenway State Park), and two of the farms are along the Genesee River and will include protections to 2.5 miles of vegetation along the river to provide wildlife habitat and stabilization benefits for the river.
This year’s success 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.
Batzing Farm (York)
The Batzing Farm in York is owned by Scott and Monica Batzing and their daughter Sarah. As a fifth generation working dairy farm, the family is transitioning the operation from the parents to their daughter who plans to continue the family legacy. The Batzing farm project will include protections along the Genesee River.
Mulligan Farm (Avon)
The Mulligan Farm project in Avon includes land owned by Jeff Mulligan, Lesa Sobelowski and Phillip Mulligan. The Mulligans protected their main farm in 2010 with Genesee Valley Conservancy, but have since expanded their farm and will now be able to protect additional land critical to their expanded operation.
Kingston Farm (Geneseo)
In Geneseo, the Kingston Farm is owned by brothers Bobby and Danny Kingston and their aunt and uncle George and Mary Jo Kingston. Their working dairy farm is directly adjacent to two existing protected farms, creating a significant agricultural district in the town.
Gary Swede Farm (Covington, Perry, Leicester)
The Gary Swede Farm project includes land in Perry, Covington and Leicester. Owned by Gary, Sharon, Jason and Ryan Swede and Tracie Cole, this working crop farm adjoins existing protected farms, has land along the Genesee River that will have special riparian protections for water quality, and will help the family continue adopting new technology to increase their efficiency and improve soil health and productivity.
True Farm (Perry)
The True Farm, also a working dairy, is located on the northern edge of the Village of Perry. Owned by the True family, this project is a demonstration of carefully planned community development. The project protects the highly productive agricultural lands in the town, but deliberately excluded lands within the Village of Perry to ensure the community has other economic development opportunities available and that any future development is located within the Village near existing utilities and services.
Silver Meadows Farm (Castile, Perry)
On the four generation Silver Meadows Farm, overlooking Silver Lake, the Klein family is also working to transition their operation to the next generation and identified farmland protection a priority to help with this transition. Owned by Stanley and Michele Klein and their son Russell, their farm includes one of just two undeveloped properties along the 7.4 miles of shore on Silver Lake.
Genesee Valley Conservancy’s Executive Director Benjamin Gajewski is thrilled to see significant investment in these working farms; “The Genesee Valley has some of the most productive soils in the State and this year’s farmland protection announcement demonstrates just how significant the Genesee Valley is to the New York State agricultural economy.”
Genesee Valley Conservancy has been working for 28 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.
Owners of farmland interested in learning more about farmland protection programs should contact Genesee Valley Conservancy (585-243-2190). Informational workshops will be held this winter in both 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.