Want to Farm on 33 Acres in Water Mill?

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Tomorrow, the Peconic Land Trust and the town of Southampton will announce the preservation of and a request for proposals for 33 acres of newly preserved farmland on Head of Pond Road in Water Mill. From their press release: ” In early July, the Peconic Land Trust completed the acquisition of 33 acres of farmland from the estate of Charlotte Danilevsky, with the town of Southampton purchasing the development rights, which includes additional restrictions for the first time. This precedent-setting partnership will ensure the farmland is accessible to farmers who produce food at its true agricultural value in the future. The trust will also announce a request for proposals to sell the protected farmland to qualified farmers.” On hand to speak at the announcement will be John v.H. Halsey, of Peconic Land Trust, Southampton Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst and Assemblyman Fred Thiele at a media presentation at 10 a.m.

In the past, land on the East End preserved with funds from a 2 percent transfer tax on sales of real estate that goes into the Community Preservation Fund did not have restrictions to keep the land in food production. Some preserved parcels became horse farms or fallow fields as part of residential property. In this case, that has changed and potential buyers of the land must use it to farm. The nonprofit PLT uses its own money to buy agricultural land, and then municipalities, like Southampton Town, buy the development rights using the Community Preservation Fund. This allows farmers to then buy the land from PLT at a drastically reduced price. Property with the development rights still intact on the East End can sell for up to millions per acre. The new restrictions are geared toward making the land affordable to farmers growing food, not plants for landscaping or vineyards.  As reported in East End Beacon: “In recent years, sales prices of preserved farmland to non-farmers have skyrocketed as high as $200,000 per acre, after the development rights are already sold, according to the Peconic Land Trust, which estimates that the price of an average preserved acre is about $100,000, well out of the reach of most farmers who work in food production.”

So spread the word to farmers looking to get into the business or to expand. Contact Peconic Land Trust with inquiries.

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