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RIPLEY, NY (WNY News Now) – Chautauqua County, much like most of the United States, is experiencing a shortage in operating farms and a loss of farmlands and to combat this, the county has adopted an agricultural development and enhancement strategy.
Numerous farmers in the region have faced developmental pressures regarding their farmland and are now beginning to speak out about how important preserving farmland really is for the economy and everyday life.
“We’ve been working with the county’s department of planning and development over the last ten years to look at the last plan, what was effective in it and what wasn’t and then making plans for the new one,” explained Executive Director of Cornell Cooperative Extension Emily Reynolds.
Farming is a big part of Chautauqua County, which is why the resource needs to be protected.
“I think one of the most important things is it brings to people’s attention the need to protect our farmland in the county and there are certain development pressures depending on the area you live in,” explained Owner of Double Dab Douglas Bowen.
“Our environment here in Chautauqua County is spectacular, and it’s spectacular because of the open fields, and our agricultural industry is extremely large in Chautauqua County and it’s important to keep that viable and keep that as an economic growth in our county because it’s what we do well and it’s what we’ve done well for a long time,” said Reynolds.
Many farms have succumbed to developmental pressures recently, and the reason why is simple.
“It’s much easier sometimes when pressures come in to say ‘you know, I’ve been working really hard at this and now they’re offering me ten times what I will ever make in farming to develop the land’ and we can’t have that happen. We’re going to lose the opportunity to produce high quality food for all the consumers,” explained Reynolds.
“We’ve just recently had a Love’s Truck Stop come to down on the throughway entrance here in Ripley, and who knows what developmental pressures that may bring to the area and the farmlands specifically,”
This specific farmland protection plan has been reworked over the past decade. The county Department of Planning and Development used a $50,000 grant from New York and $30,000 grant from the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation to update the plan.
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