Sharing the Love for the Environment

February 15, 2024

By Julia G. King

Conservation News
Farms for the Future

Albany might not be your top pick for Valentine’s Day celebrations, but Trust staff met with state legislators on February 13th and 14th. Each year the Trust works with partner organizations throughout the state to connect with the Governor and members of the State Senate and Assembly to share stories of how the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) and other programs such as American Farmland Trust’s Farmland for a New Generation are creating healthier and resilient communities.

In their meetings organized by the New Yorkers for Clean Water & Jobs on the 13th, they urged legislators to maintain the EPF at a minimum of $400 million in the state budget. Here on Long Island, funding through the EPF has protected many acres of open space, including woodlands that filter our drinking water, trails that connect us to nature, and working farms that produce food and other products.


Assemblyman Fred Thiele with Kathy Kennedy, Senior Manager of Outreach, and John v.H. Halsey, President. Assemblyman Thiele recently announced his retirement at the conclusion of this session after 30 years of service. He will be missed given his extraordinary leadership in conservation and his extensive institutional knowledge.

On the 14th, they met with legislators to discuss New York’s farmland. Along with our partners in Alliance for New York’s Farmland, we asked legislators to support $25 million in Farmland Protection as part of the EPF. The Governor proposed $18.25 million in funding, a cut of nearly $3 million from the amount allocated in last year’s Enacted Budget. We must invest in protecting our farmland for the food, farm, climate, and economic benefits they provide.

As in years past, the Governor proposed no funding for the Farmland for a New Generation program. We asked for at least $850,000 to fund this program. This recommended funding will enable the American Farmland Trust and Regional Navigators, which the Peconic Land Trust is one, to help farmers find or transfer land. A majority (92%) of farmers over 65 in New York report not having a next generation farmer who is ready and willing to take over their farm business. Farmland for a New Generation provides these senior farmers and farm families with opportunities to connect with and mentor a new farmer or make their land available to an existing farmer more easily.

Interested in learning more? Contact Yvette DeBow Salsedo, Vice President.

Support the Peconic Land Trust
Peconic Land Trust needs your support to protect the working farms, natural lands, and heritage of Long Island.