New 72-Acre Land Trust in Hamptonburgh Makes 214-Acre Protected Farm Corridor
By Edie Johnson
72 Acres of Farmland Acquired by Land Trust and Other Preservation Groups
A 72-acre farm that had been slated for development in the Town of Hamptonburgh has been conserved through a partnership of conservation and agricultural organizations.
A recently finalized conservation easement will protect the land in perpetuity, ensuring that it remains in agricultural use. The effort to conserve the farm was led by local farmer Morse Pitts of Windfall Farms, with the help of the Orange County Land Trust, Scenic Hudson, GrowNYC’s FARMroots Program, and Equity Trust. The property is adjacent to the 142-acre Windfall Farms, which was previously conserved by the Orange County Land Trust, Scenic Hudson, and New York State in 2016.
The farm was under consideration for a proposed 130,000-square-foot refrigerated warehouse and packing facility, a plan that met local opposition from neighbors and farmers.
“Saving this farmland from development has major implications beyond the boundaries of the farm,” said Jim Delaune, Executive Director of the Orange County Land Trust. “Expanding industrialization, in what has historically been an agricultural region in the Town of Hamptonburgh, has adversely impacted farmers. The protection of the Nemeth Farm will help ease some of the pressures facing neighboring farms from development, making it easier for farmers to keep their lands in agriculture, while staying productive, and ensuring long term viability.”
Other towns in the area are, as detailed in our editorial for this week, also scrambling to protect some of the most valuable open space that is left. Chester is seeking a bond to purchase several parcels, Blooming Grove has committees prioritizing the chances and benefits of a number of parcels, some which would protect the cherished views of the Schunnemunk Ridge and Moodna Trestle Valley.
A particular benefit of this particular acquisition is that it is surrounded by other farmland and creates a 214 corridor of open space farmland that is near commercial and industrial complexes. It is also just east of Thomas Bull Memorial parkland and about 5 other large farmland parcels that have so far dug in their heels against acquisition by commercial groups who see Orange County as highly valued and in need of space to grow. The stage is set for an increasingly educated dialogue on these farm/commercial borders.