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CACDA to offer workshops on Farmland Protection Plans

Farmers, farmland owners, business operators and residents are invited to attend public workshops at 7 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 14 at the Nelson Town Hall (for Towns of Nelson and Cazenovia) and Tuesday, Nov. 15 at the Lincoln Town Hall. Light refreshments will be provided.

The Towns of Nelson, Cazenovia and Lincoln are working together to prepare Agriculture and Farmland Protection Plans, assisted by grant funding from the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets.

Steering Committees, including farmers, local officials and landowners from each of the three Towns, are coordinating the planning efforts.

Each municipality expects to complete their Farmland Protection Plan by mid-2012.

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Since April, the Steering Committees have been working with a planning consultant to document farmland resources, identify issues and opportunities, and evaluate potential strategies.

The consultant, Barbara Johnston from Stuart I. Brown Associates, will present an overview of the inventory, as well as the issues and opportunities identified to date.

Johnston will also present information about how local governments can work with landowners to minimize impacts on farmland that can occur as a result of residential development.

Judy Wright, a farmland preservation consultant with American Farmland Trust, will discuss the use of conservation easements to protect farmland and the importance of retaining productive farmland.

Beth McKellips, the new Agricultural Economic Development Specialist for Madison County, will discuss the initiatives underway in Madison County to support the agricultural economy.

These include the continuing efforts to develop the Agricultural and Renewable Energy Park in Lincoln, as well as marketing coordination and public awareness programs.

The workshops will provide an opportunity for farmers, landowners and residents to learn about the strategies that are being considered by the three towns.

Participants will be invited to share their perspectives and ideas about farming with the Steering Committees, town officials, and planning consultant.

These workshops are the second in a series to support the Farmland Protection Plan. The first workshops were held in April and focused on identifying issues and opportunities.

In early spring, 2012, the committee will present the draft strategies and recommendations to encourage public comment before forwarding the plans for consideration by each town board.

For more information, please contact Barbara Henderson, Executive Director of Cazenovia Area Community Development Association (CACDA) at 655-7651 or Barbara Johnston, Stuart I. Brown Associates at (585) 295-6636.

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