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Westchester Provides "Seed" Money to Grow Agriculture Businesses

The 2018 Westchester County Budget provides a new funding line which will be matched by additional funds from New York State to create a comprehensive plan to protect, support and grow agricultural activities throughout the County. The budget addition was submitted by Legislator Francis Corcoran (R) Bedford, Chair of the Board of Legislators Environment and Health Committee.

The $50,000 in County funds will be matched by $50,000 from New York State to engage the services of an outside consultant to update the Agriculture and Farmland Protection Plan. The plan will identify and develop projects within all areas – urban, suburban and rural – best practices, models, and activities to increase economic and social opportunities throughout the County.

The matching grant from New York State allows $50,000 for the County’s Agriculture and Farmland Protection Plan and also allows up to $25,000 in matching funds for municipalities that participate in a joint plan. This means that the $50,000 in “seed’ money invested by Westchester County in the 2018 budget could grow into $200,000 or more toward updating the Agriculture Plan.

Legislator Corcoran represents Bedford, Mount Kisco, North Salem, Lewisboro Pound Ridge and parts of Somers- towns that are home to much of the County’s agriculture business. “This funding represents a modest but important investment in our County’s agricultural businesses. Small farms and other agriculture entrepreneurs are under ever increasing pressure to convert to other land uses, typically residential subdivision. An updated Agriculture and Farmland Protection Plan will show us how we can encourage the preservation and growth of small farms.” Corcoran said. "Agricultural land contributes significantly to the quality of life in Westchester County by providing open space, links to our cultural history, a habitat for wildlife, and locally produced food. The demand for locally sourced food is growing and we can do more to help our agriculture businesses feed that demand which is good for the environment as well as the local economy."

Photo Caption- Legislator Francis Corcoran speaks at a press conference in July announcing that he and other government leaders had secured funding to acquire the development rights to Stuart’s Farm in Somers.

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