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First Yates farm protected by an agricultural easement

MILO—Dale Hallings’s dream of his farm remaining in agriculture has come true. The spot his father and grandfather farmed that he farms is now protected by an agricultural easement. The easement prohibits development, but it can be used for agricultural purposes forever.
A dedication took place at Hallings Route 14A farm June 17.
Peter Landre, executive director of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Yates County, spoke about the obtaining the easement, calling it, “Probably one of the most challenging and rewarding projects I have been involved in during my 15 years here. This is 219 acres of the finest soil on this planet and it is permanently protected.” Hallings farm, Hallpine, is the first in Yates County to be granted an agricultural easement. Landre said, “Dale has been a great ambassador for the program. I can’t think of a better or a more deserving family for the program.”
New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Patrick Hooker attended the dedication. He said the soils on the farm, Honeoye Lima, are some of the very best, commenting, “They are soils worth protecting.” Hooker called the area a scenic and productive belt, and a naturally sustainable, productive system with natural irrigation. Hooker contrasted the area with arid sections of the west, adding, “I’m concerned we preserve this resource. We need a productive ag base for our own people. People want you to survive, Dale. They want local food.” There are three additional grant applications to protect other farms in Yates County pending.
Finger Lakes Land Trust was one of the partners in the project and executive director Andy Zepp also spoke during the dedication. He said he echoed Landre’s comments, adding, “We don’t know what ag will look like 100 years from now. Our goal is not to micromanage the future but to have it available. We are confident as these programs proceed the beautiful vistas will be retained. This is a testament to Cornell Cooperative Extension.” Near the conclusion of the program, Hallings said, “Would I do it again? In a heartbeat.”

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