The “Essex County Farmland Protection and Food System Plan 2022” estimates that 523 parcels comprising 39,000 acres may be important to protect to secure local farms and food. In a related survey, 34% of farmer respondents said “yes” they are interested in using conservation easements to protect their farmland and another 33% answered “maybe.” To open lines of communication about conservation easements as a land protection tool, the Adirondack Land Trust has been hosting informational sessions. The November 2022 one was called “How do Conservation Easements Impact Farm Operations?” and featured the following panelists:

  • James Graves, Owner/Operator, Full and By Farm, Essex
  • Alice Halloran, Essex County Soil & Water Conservation District
  • Jeff Kehoe, Ag Protection Planner, NYS Dept. of Agriculture and Markets
  • Ashlee Kleinhammer, Proprietor, North Country Creamery
  • Megan Stevenson, Land Protection Manager, Adirondack Land Trust

The session touched on conservation easements as a land protection tool, featured farmers with direct experience managing operations on lands under conservation easement, and provided opportunity to ask state, county, and nonprofit professionals questions. It was the first of two farmland-conservation- easement-focused workshops. The next one, which will take place in early 2023, will focus on the financial side of conservation easements.

These events are being supported by a Farmland Access Outreach Grant through NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets and offered in partnership with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Essex County. A recording of the November event is available for anyone interested in learning more about farmland protection and conservation easements.

Please contact Megan Stevenson, , if you’d like to be notified about future sessions or learn more about protecting private lands.

Photograph by Becca Halter/Adk Land Trust