Grant workshops offered to local farmers

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GREENWICH, N.Y. >> Four upcoming informational sessions, free and open to the public, are being held so that local farmers may learn more about the state Purchase of Development Rights (PDR) grants. The workshops will discuss the parameters of the state program so farmers can determine whether it might be suitable for their farms and how to apply for funding. The Agricultural Stewardship Association (ASA) is accepting pre-applications for the state farmland protection program through May 13. Attending the workshop is not a prerequisite to complete the pre-application, but is highly encouraged.

The sessions are being held:

• March 21, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. –Hartford Town Hall, 165 Hartford Main Street (County Route 23), Granville

• March 24, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. – Brunswick Community Center; Keyes Lane (off Hoosick St.), Troy

• March 29 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. – ASA's office; 2531 State Route 40, Greenwich (across the street from the USDA offices)

• March 31 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. – Hoosick Grange; 20 Hill Road (County Route 95), just north of the intersection of Hill Road and Route 7, Hoosick

The state program provides financial compensation to farmers who voluntarily wish to conserve their farms for agricultural use by selling their development rights. Farmers often use the funds to make improvements on the farm, expand or diversify their operation, purchase support land, help transfer the farm to the next generation, reduce debt, or establish a retirement fund. ASA, with the endorsement of the Washington and Rensselaer counties Agricultural and Farmland Protection Boards, writes the grants free of charge and submits them to the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markers for consideration. The state ranks the proposals on a regional basis.

RSVPs are greatly appreciated. Please register at www.agstewardship.org or by contacting ASA at 518-692-7285. Be sure to indicate which workshop you plan to attend. Each session is identical in content. Copies of the pre-application are available on ASA's website, by emailing renee@agstewardship.org or stopping at ASA's office at 2531 State Route 40 in Greenwich.

ASA was founded 25 years ago as a non-profit land trust focusing on farmland conservation in Washington and Rensselaer counties. Today, ASA has conserved nearly 17,000 acres and 107 farms. For more information visit www.agstewardship.org.


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