In 2015, NYALT partnered with the Onondaga County Agriculture Council to implement an outreach campaign educating landowners about their farmland conservation options and resulting in the identification of over 20 farms interested in conservation easements. In response, the Council committed funds to cover the transaction costs for the protection of Clover Hill Farm. The landowners, Gary and Sharon Slate, are donating a conservation easement on their 83-acre property.
“The Onondaga County Agriculture Council is thrilled to partner with NYALT to help landowners realize their dream of protecting their land to ensure that it remains undeveloped and ideally in agricultural production forever,” said David Knapp, Onondaga County Legislator and Agriculture Council Co-Chair. “We are very fortunate to have landowners like Gary and Sharon Slate that are so dedicated to keeping their land in agriculture that they are willing to donate their development rights, which provides a tremendous opportunity to conserve valuable farmland at a fraction of the cost that would be required to purchase those development rights. And having a land trust like NYALT, that is committed to preserving farmland and willing to work with landowners and hold and steward their donated easements, helps to protect the long term viability of our very strong agricultural economy.”
Clover Hill farm originally began as a 17-acre parcel that the Slates purchased in 1983. Over the next 30 years Gary and Sharon continued to grow their farm, purchasing several adjoining parcels that were poised to be sold as large building lots. “We’ve worked over the years to save, use and protect this contiguous property for agriculture” stated the Slates.
Located in the Town of Van Buren, Clover Hill Farm is at the gateway to the Syracuse Urbanized Area. Clover Hill Farm contains over 72% of prime and statewide soil making this land extremely valuable for agricultural production. At present, the Slates raise horses and rent the land to a neighboring Dairy farm for hay production. The protection of Clover Hill Farm with a conservation easement will be an amazing gift to the community and NYALT is honored to work with both the Slates and the Council on this project.