Easement in state program secures farmland in Floyd

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FLOYD — A pair of farmers are making sure their farmland will remain farmland — following the finalizing of an agreement to grant a conservation easement on their adjoining farms.

Brothers Richard and Wesley Hughes, who live and work the land on East Floyd Road, under guidance from officials with the Tug Hill Tomorrow Land Trust, have entered their farms into the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets’ Farmland Implementation Program.

The program seeks to preserve viable agricultural land through the purchase of the development rights by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets — or by donations of such rights by the landowners themselves.

The Hughes brothers chose to donate, as it allowed them considerable input as to the content and wording of the agreement, offcials said. This freedom allowed for a stricter agreement to be crafted than the standard Agricultural and Market agreement, keeping with the wishes of the Hughes family.

The Hughes’s farms are located in the northeast corner of the town and consist of over 250 acres of open land. The property has been farmed for generations with cows grazing in pastures bordered by woodlands a familiar sight to those driving past on East Floyd Road.

The road bisects the properties, resulting in over a mile of combined road frontage, according to the agreement announcement by the Tug Hill Tomorrow Land Trust. The agreement prohibits residential or commercial development permanently, regardless of ownership.

The Hughes family said it is grateful for the assistance of officials at the Tug Hill Tomorrow Land Trust. The Land Trust will monitor and periodically inspect the property to insure complete compliance with agreement and legally prosecute violations, officials said.

The Tug Hill Tomorrow Land Trust is a non-profit nationally accredited organization dedicated to the preservation of farmland, forest land, and open lands in the Tug Hill region, which includes portions — primarily rural — of Lewis and Oneida counties.

Anyone interested in pursuing conservation easements, through donations or monetary grants by New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, can go to the organization’s website at www.TugHillTomorrowLandTrust.org. People can also contact Executive Director Linda Garrett by calling her at 315-779-8240 at the organization’s headquarters in Watertown or via email at lgarrett@tughilltomorrow.org.

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