Local officials training initiative

2009 Annual Report for CNE09-059

Project Type: Sustainable Community Innovation
Funds awarded in 2009: $6,018.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2010
Region: Northeast
State: New York
Project Leader:
Barbara Henderson
Cazenovia Area Community Development Association

Local officials training initiative


In partnership with American Farmland Trust, a conference titled ‘Planning for Farms, Food and Energy in Central New York’ was held in March of 2009. Participants who attended the all-day sessions each received a copy of the ‘Farm Book’ compiled by CACDA. Workshops for elected officials, farmers and interested individuals were held in late fall of 2009. We are continuing to distribute books through varied channels.

Objectives/Performance Targets

We wanted 275 people to attend the conference, and numerous elected officials and farmers from Madison and Onondaga Counties to attend the workshops. It was expected that 25% of attendees would take steps to encourage municipal action to support farms, and that at least 6 towns or counties would apply for NYS funding to integrate farms into local planning initiatives. We hoped that 35% of the book recipients would increase their commitment to saving farmland through various measures and that there would be 30% fewer negative incidents between farmers and residents. Approximately 2000 books were to be printed and distributed, 15 of which would go to real estate agents.


175 people from 20 counties in New York (and 1 from Pennsylvania) attended the conference and received the publication. The majority of conference attendees were from town boards, zoning boards or planning boards. Attendance at workshops was good and involved elected officials, farmers and other interested individuals. Based on the feedback from the conference (79) and survey cards (3), 23 respondents said they would take the information back to their respective land trusts, landowners, farmers, farm protection boards or town boards. 6 will use the info to revamp or review their existing comprehensive plans and 10 will use it for zoning changes. 1 town has applied for NYS funding. Many people who received the book commented on the fact that they would definitely work harder to help save farmland. It is difficult at this point to determine how many fewer incidents there are between farmers and neighbors, but it appears that they are decreasing.

15 copies of the Farm Book were given to local real estate agents to share with potential purchasers of properties adjacent to existing farms. Local elected officials were given copies and, due to a press release that was widely distributed, we had requests and sent copies to people in 9 additional New York counties. 125 Farm Books were given to guests at a ‘Farm & Fork’ event that highlighted the importance of local farms and locally grown foods, and was hosted by Olympic equestrian champion Beezie Madden and her husband John last September. 35 copies were given out at the annual Garden Club meeting. 100 copies were sent to NYS legislators for a ‘No Farms, No Food’ rally in Albany, 100 were sent to the Agstravaganza event in Ithaca and more than 75 will be available at local maple weekends.

We initially planned to mail the majority of the books to people in the area, but were not sure how to best target who would receive and truly appreciate them. Instead, we decided to work with several local venues to make them available to the public. This way, those who were truly interested could easily pick up a copy for themselves and perhaps one to share with a friend. The publication is continually available at many venues, including public, college and school libraries, Amish and local product stores, Chambers of Commerce, municipal offices, and farms. To date, more than 1200 Farm Books have been distributed to people in over 29 counties across the state (and 1 from PA).

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

This project has impacted many agricultural as well as non-agricultural audiences. Because of the conference and workshops, and the fact that the books have been so widely distributed throughout a variety of areas and events, many people that might not otherwise have been exposed to the information have been able to access it. Many of these people live and work in relatively rural areas that are comprised largely of agricultural activities. Some are traditional dairy farms, others are equine or agritourism businesses. It is important to preserve valuable farmland for all of these pursuits, especially since agriculture provides so much of the economic basis for these areas. By helping educate individuals from many walks of life to better understand why farmland, and particularly local farms, should be supported and preserved, we think the public and key decision makers will be able to work together more closely to determine how best to achieve better and more sustainable future economic conditions for farmers and residents.


Karen Baase

[email protected]
Association Issue Leader
Cornell Cooperative Extension
PO Box1209 100 Eaton Street
Morrisville, NY 13408
Office Phone: 3156843001
David Haight

[email protected]
New York Director
American Farmland Trust
112 Spring Street, Suite 207
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
Office Phone: 5185810078
Becca Jablonski

[email protected]
Ag Economic Development Specialist
Madison County
PO Box 1209 100 Eaton Street
Morrisville, NY 13408
Office Phone: 3156843001