Nearly half a million for Jeff farm
JEFFERSONVILLE, NY — Augmenting a $5,000 grant from the Delaware Highlands Conservancy, Sullivan County will funnel $491,250 in New York State funds to a Jeffersonville farm to preserve agricultural land, protect a municipal water supply and boost agritourism.
“Like Sullivan County, Governor Andrew Cuomo and the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets recognize that local, small-scale farms are worth protecting,” said Sullivan County Planning Commissioner Freda Eisenberg. “We are thrilled that the state is giving $491,250 to Hilly Acres Farm so that this family operation can continue to grow and future generations can enjoy clean water and wholesome food.”
In 2017, the Sullivan County Agriculture and Farmland Protection Board issued public notices seeking farms interested in applying for a future round of the NYS Agriculture and Markets’ Farmland Protection Implementation Grant. The grant provides local governments, soil and water conservation districts and land trusts with grants to offset costs of conservation easements that will protect viable agricultural land from being converted to non-agricultural use.
The six farms that applied were ranked based on criteria listed in the 2014 Sullivan County Agriculture and Farmland Protection Plan. Hilly Acres Farm ranked high due to its proximity to important natural resources and long-term sustainability. The county submitted an application on the farm’s behalf to the state, in partnership with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Sullivan County, the Delaware Highlands Conservancy and the Agriculture and Farmland Protection Board.
This particular grant will protect 233 acres owned and managed by Andrew and Tanya Hahn. The Hahns raise a variety of livestock and sell beef, pork, lamb and poultry products at farmers’ markets. With son Michael, the couple hosts an annual “Farm Fest,” an agritourism initiative.
“The farm is located next to the Village of Jeffersonville’s water supply and thus is a crucial buffer zone to ensure clean drinking water for the municipality,” said legislator Catherine Owens, chair of the Sullivan County Legislature’s Parks, Agriculture and Sustainability Policy Committee.
“Our farm has been in operation for over a century, and our son hopes to continue that proud tradition for many more decades,” said Tanya. “To continue to thrive and to remain a viable part of the community we love, we are in the midst of planning to expand our meat and poultry production, finish certification as a humane facility and offer overnight on-farm stays to promote local agritourism. These monies will help us realize those goals to a degree we otherwise couldn’t have reached.”