DUTCHESS COUNTY, N.Y. - Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro hosted the third annual Agricultural Forum where he was joined by local farmers, elected officials, agricultural and land conservancy organizations to discuss the importance of agriculture to the county on Thursday.
Agriculture comprises over 170,000 acres in the county; produces nearly $50 million in market value products, and is the county’s third largest employer. It also plays a large role in the county’s $500-plus million tourism industry.
“Farming has long been vital to Dutchess County – as part of our history, our development, our success – and it will play an important role in the future success of our economy," Molinaro said.
David Haight, state director for the American Farmland Trust, was the keynote speaker and provided a presentation on agricultural economic development, farmland protection plans and advocacy for agriculture in New York.
Haight said: “Dutchess County is one of three counties investing in protecting the land that we need for farming and growing food in New York. Dutchess County has been on the forefront of these issues for decades.”
According to Molinaro, the past year has been one of the most successful periods in the history of Dutchess County’s Partnership for Manageable Growth (PMG), through which the county collaborates with local partners to protect farmlands that are key to keeping agriculture vibrant for future generations.
During the year, the county closed on five projects, resulting in the preservation of more than 530 acres of farmland. Since the PMG program was established in 1999, more than 3,300 acres of farmland on 19 farms have been preserved.
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