DLC’s partnership with local towns, Dutchess County, New York State, the U.S.D.A., private foundations, landowners and individuals has created a powerful tool for protecting farmland and open spaces in Dutchess County.
Dutchess County’s farmland is in jeopardy. The Hudson Valley has faced severe development pressure over the past four decades due to our location just outside of the New York City Metropolitan area – one of the largest population centers in the world. According to an American Farmland Trust report, the Hudson Valley is “part of the tenth most threatened agricultural regions in the country, where prime agricultural soils and suburban development pressures are on a collision course.” Farms play an important role in the County’s economic future, providing an economic benefit of $44.8 million annually.
DLC continues to focus on protecting important farmland and through this, our agricultural heritage. Through a Purchase of Development Rights (PDR) program, a landowner is paid for the value of his development rights in exchange for placing a conservation easement on his land. This allows a farm landowner to reduce debt, enhance a family business, or retire and allow other family members to take over.
Working with the County Farmland Protection Board, since 2001 we have leveraged numerous federal, state, county, town and private funding sources to secure millions of dollars for farmland protection in the county. We have closed on many PDR projects protecting over 5,585 acres of active agricultural land and continue to work on enhancing this program both locally and statewide.