Peconic Land Trust Announces Conservation of Farmland in Wading River with Zoumas and Condzella Families

May 13, 2024

Southampton, New York. Peconic Land Trust today announced the preservation of 23.54 acres of farmland with the Condzella family and Zoumas brothers in Wading River. The conservation was part of a multi-pronged effort that includes funding from the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets and donations from the community.

“We are so pleased to be able to celebrate this wonderful farmland conservation. Our sincere thanks go to Governor Kathy Hochul, our Senate and Assembly delegation, and the Department of Agriculture and Markets for the funding of programs that enable farmland protection. Also, to the many donors who participated and have clearly said that agriculture is an important part of our community,” said John v.H. Halsey, President, Peconic Land Trust. “We also thank John and Bill Zoumas and Ginny and John Condzella for seeing the value of agriculture and for their willingness to conserve land for future generations.”

In December 2023, the Trust acquired a conservation easement (aka development rights) on the Zoumas farmland (8.5 acres), restricting the land to agricultural purposes (and eliminating the possibility of residential or commercial development). Funding for the conservation easement was provided by New York State’s Ag and Markets farmland protection program ($2 million), donations from the community, and a bargain sale by John and Bill Zoumas. Notably, this was the first time the State provided funds for the acquisition of an easement on property that had a commercial site plan approval in place.

Subsequently, in early March, the Trust worked with Ginny and John Condzella to conserve 15 acres of farmland they currently own and farm. This conservation easement was made possible by donations from the community along with the NYS Ag and Markets grant funds ($1.946 million). The Condzellas also contributed through a bargain sale of the easement.

Using the proceeds from the sale of the easement, Ginny and John Condzella purchased the restricted farmland from John and Bill Zoumas in mid-March 2024.

These properties were part of the Peconic Land Trust’s Wading River Initiative fundraising campaign that concluded in the Spring of 2022, raising $305,000 from the members of the public. The funds raised have been applied to both of these easements, in addition to $3.946 million in grants from Ag and Markets*. As such, these funds have restricted the future use of the farmland to agriculture.

*Funding for a significant portion of these transactions was through the New York State Farmland Protection Program under the Environmental Protection Fund – and administered by the Department of Agriculture and Markets. The funding was from Round 18 of the Farmland Protection Implementation Grants announced in May of 2021. To be eligible for funding, matching funds in the form of donations and a bargain sale were required.

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “Our farmland is one of the most important natural resources we have. As the foundation for our food supply, it’s critical that we continue to protect our land and our rich soils so our farmers can continue to grow our food, strengthen our local food systems, plan for the future, and play an integral part in our fight against climate change. I’m grateful for our partnership with land trusts across the state like the Peconic Land Trust as well as all the farmers participating in this program who are pushing this mission forward and working hard to keep our precious farmland safe from development.”

“While growing up in Wading River I have seen a lot of things change over the years, but the one thing that has never changed is my love for our family farm, and the desire to preserve it forever. It wasn’t easy, and at times I thought that it would be impossible, but through perseverance and the help of the Peconic Land Trust I finally have achieved my goal. While many things have changed in Wading River, the one thing that will remain forever, and almost the same as when my grandfather started it over one hundred years ago, is Condzella’s Farm. Thank you, Peconic Land Trust, and everyone who contributed to this effort,” said John Condzella.

“As lifelong residents of a town called Wading River that we moved to in the 70’s, raised our families in, and have grandchildren growing up in, my brother Bill and I have closed a 25-year chapter on the farmland preservation endeavors presented to us through the Peconic Land Trust. The hard work and perseverance of Julie Wesnofske was a long and admirable road,” said John Zoumas.

“We are thrilled to be able to play a role in seeing this farmland forever protected for agriculture and reconnected to the Condzella family, who have farmed in the area for over 100 years,” said Julie Wesnofske, Senior Project Manager, Peconic Land Trust. “I initially started working with the family in the early 2000s on conservation strategies for the farm – for me, it’s incredibly gratifying to see this come to fruition and I wish only the best for Ginny, John and their family in the future farming endeavors. It’s also been a pleasure to work with John and Bill Zoumas and their attorney Pete Danowski, and to make these connections. We thank them for being part of Wading River’s agricultural future.”

About Farms for the Future Initiative

The Trust’s Farms for the Future Initiative exemplifies a Pillar of the Trust’s work related to Food, Farms, and Farmers and advances agricultural viability and access to healthy food. It includes farmland leases, incubator programs, and sales of protected farmland, some with additional restrictions designed to ensure that protected farmland remains accessible and affordable to farmers in the future. The majority of the lessees operate on protected farmland owned by the Trust either at our Agricultural Center at Charnews Farm in Southold or at the Deborah Light Preserve in Amagansett, also home of the Trust’s Quail Hill Farm.

Objectives of the Farms for the Future Initiative:

  • Keep conserved agricultural land actively farmed,
  • Create opportunities for farmers to start‐up and/or expand their agricultural operations,
  • Promote the diversity of farming and farmers on Long Island,
  • Encourage food production farming,
  • Ensure that farmland is available and affordable to farmers.

To learn more about this program, please contact Dan Heston, Director of Agricultural Programs, at 631.734.5630 or or Kim Quarty, Director of Conservation Planning at 631.283.3195 or

About the Peconic Land Trust

On August 1, 2023, the Peconic Land Trust celebrated its 40th Anniversary. Founded in 1983, Peconic Land Trust conserves Long Island’s working farms, natural lands, and heritage. Since its inception, the nonprofit Trust has worked conscientiously with landowners, communities, municipalities, partner organizations, and donors, to conserve 14,000 acres of land on Long Island. The Trust’s professional staff carries out the necessary research and planning to identify and implement alternatives to outright development. While working to conserve the productive farms, watersheds, woodlands, and beachfront of Long Island, the Trust is also protecting the unique rural heritage and natural resources of the region. For more information about the Peconic Land Trust, visit

More Press Releases

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