Between 2014 and 2020, Equity Trust’s Hudson Valley Farm Affordability Program helped preserve fourteen affordable working farms on over 2100 acres in New York State’s Hudson Valley. This multi-year initiative complemented and enhanced the farmland protection efforts of the many conservation and agriculture groups that have been working in the Hudson Valley for years, by introducing effective tools to preserve working farms and by providing technical assistance to farm protection projects together with funding in the form of grants and loans. The Program built on the work Equity Trust has been doing nationally for three decades to create and promote strategies for keeping farms in production and affordable to farmers.
The Hudson Valley provides a valuable food resource for the nearby populations of New York City, Albany, and other urban and suburban communities of New York and bordering states. Yet proximity to dense populations also puts farmland at risk as farmers are outbid by other buyers. Even farmland that has been “protected” through the removal of development rights may be sold for second homes and estates, creating a loss not just for farmers but also for the communities where these farms are located.
Multi-year funding from NoVo Foundation, whose mission is “to foster a transformation from a world of domination and exploitation to one of collaboration and partnership,” allowed Equity Trust to offer technical assistance in support of a focused regional effort to keep farms accessible to farmers. NoVo also provided grant money to pay for permanent affordability restrictions on farms in the region and low interest investment funds for land acquisition bridge loans to get farms off the market while long-term protection plans were put in place.
Projects were carried out in partnership with farmers, land trusts, and local communities to support the protection of farms located in six New York counties. Read more about the Program’s successes