Through Farms and Fields: Peconic Land Trust Celebrates Suffolk County’s Landmark Farmland Preservation Program and the Farmers Who Made It Happen

August 8, 2018

CUTCHOGUE, NY — The Peconic Land Trust honored farm families who were instrumental in the establishment of Suffolk County’s landmark Farmland Preservation Program at its annual Through Farms & Fields event on Sunday, August 5th. The event was held at Salt Air Farm in Cutchogue where a sold-out crowd celebrated ongoing land conservation efforts on Long Island and its unique and historic East End.

Established in 1974, Suffolk County’s program was the first of its kind to purchase development rights on farmland, an idea that has spread across New York and 25 other states. Initiated by former Suffolk County Executive John V.N. Klein, the program was designed to preserve Long Island’s farms and farmland in the face of rising real estate values, increased estate taxes, and extraordinary development pressures. In 1950, there were 120,000 acres of farmland in production in Suffolk County – by 1974, the acreage had dropped to 60,000 acres.

The families honored include names that are very familiar on Long Island – Corwith, Cross, Halsey, Latham, Reeve, Talmage, Wesnofske, and Wickham. Members of these families shaped the program at its inception and were among the first to protect their land from residential development through the sale of development rights. To date, the County program has protected over 10,000 acres of farmland from development. Today, there are about 40,000 acres in Suffolk County of which 15,000 remain unprotected.

“The East End of Long Island retains its unique rural character and vibrant local farm economy through the work of the Peconic Land Trust and public partners like Suffolk County,” President John v.H. Halsey said. “In the last 35 years, the Trust has conserved over 12,000 acres of working farms, natural lands, and historic resources, in concert with landowners, partner organizations, local governments and communities -- making sure that Long Island continues to have working farms, clean drinking water, vibrant habitats and trails, shorelines and more that we all can enjoy -- the unique natural, agricultural and historic resources that make Long Island the place we all know and love.”

“But our work is never done and always urgent as we strive to protect the land, water, and history of our communities. There continues to be tremendous development pressures on our remaining working farmland and natural lands,” Halsey added. “With your help, we work hard every day to find conservation outcomes that work for the community.”


Through Farms & Fields Country Supper Details

• Date: Sunday, August 5, 2018

• Time: 4:00 pm

• Where: Salt Air Farm, Cutchogue, NY

• Honoring: Farm families who helped launched the Suffolk County Farmland Preservation Program - Corwith, Cross, Halsey, Latham, Reeve, Talmage, Wesnofske, and Wickham

• Chair: Carol Mulvihill Ahlers

• Master of Ceremonies: Richie King

• Supper by the Chef Tom Schaudel and Courtney Schaudel, Simply Plated.

• Conservation Champion sponsor: Kathleen King and Zvi Friedman

• Benefactor sponsors: Avalon Park and Preserve, BNB Bank and Bridge Abstract, Daniel and Brooke Neidich, Eric Wechsler and Phil Kovacevich, Philippa Weismann and Lucy Veltri

• Patron sponsors: Ruth and Leonard Benowich, The Corcoran Group, Alan and Harriet Dresher, RaineyDay and John Erwin, Annie and John Hall, The Halseys: Doug, Amy, Meredith, June, and Mark, Amerika and Bradd Williamson

• Friends: Carol Mulvihill Ahlers and Ron Ahlers, Artisan Mortgage Company, Judith and Brian Bedol, Carleen Borsella and Jonathan Hoefler, Romy and David Coquillette, Michael Daly, Alan and Harriet Dresher, Megan Mulvihill Elkins and Terry Elkins, Laura and Michael Ferrante, Ann ffolliott, Hans Flick and Celeste Kime, John and Candice Frawley, Nancy Gilbert & Richard Wines, Diana Gordon and Michael Keating, GreenLogic, Bettysue Hughes, Ann Marie and Stephen Jones, Lisa Clare Kombrink, Esq., Marjorie Ludlow, Rachel Lynch Pools & Spa, Inc., Markowitz, Fenelon & Bank, Stephen and Karen Koh Marzo, Joe Mc Kay, J.P. Morgan, Mary and Tom Morgan, Nawrocki Smith LLP, RB Irrigation, Satur Farms: Paulette Satur and Eberhard Mueller, Summerhill Landscapes, Margaretta Taylor, Linda Stabler-Talty and Peter Talty, Andrea and Paul Vizcarrondo, Isabel and Thomas Wacker, Weber & Grahn, Jane and James Weigley

• Event Committee: Carol Ahlers (chair), Michael Daly, Harriet Dresher, John Erwin, Nancy Goell, Jennifer Halsey Dupree, Jane Iselin, Patty Orben, Rand Stoll, Kathleen King

• To Benefit: The Peconic Land Trust

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