NEW YORK, NY — February 21, 2012 — The Open Space Institute announced today the preservation of the 122-acre Hampton Hills Farm, the latest parcel that the town of Warwick has preserved with funding from the Community Preservation Act.
The Open Space Conservancy, the land acquisition affiliate of the Open Space Institute, purchased a conservation easement that limits future development on the farm. The town of Warwick, using Community Preservation Act funds, intends to acquire the easement from OSC.
The Community Preservation Act was passed by voters in 2006 and has enabled the town of Warwick to preserve more than 3,000 acres of critically important farmland and watershed land in recent years.
“The town of Warwick is pleased to have preserved the Hampton Hills Farm, which is adjacent to another preserved active Farm, the Myruski Farm, a model family dairy operation,” said Town Supervisor Michael Sweeton. “We are grateful to partner with and receive the assistance of OSI in furthering the preservation of working farms in the Warwick Valley.”
Hampton Hills, which sits in the nationally renowned “black dirt” region, a 14,000-acre expanse of deep, rich soils that stretch across five towns, is the second farm OSI has protected in Orange County in the past year. In May 2011, OSI acquired an easement protecting the 120-acre Wright Farm, a family farm adjacent to one of Warwick’s oldest orchards, the Applewood Orchard.
In the coming weeks OSI expects to complete another farmland preservation project in Orange County as well.
“Farming is a vital component of a thriving Orange County economy,” said Kim Elliman, OSI’s President and CEO. “This part of New York State has a rich farming history, and though partnerships like this agriculture will continue to provide for local residents.”
Hampton Hills Farm is located within the town of Warwick's Agricultural Protection Overlay District, created in 2002 to preserve agricultural land and to protect farms’ agricultural productivity.
Despite increasing development pressure, agriculture continues to be one of the leading industries in Orange County. The 2007 Census of Agriculture found that 642 farms, which make up 16 percent of the county’s land area, accounted for $73.7 million in gross sales. There are some 400 farms in the town of Warwick alone.
A partner in the project, the Orange County Land Trust, has been entrusted with third-party enforcement power, which ensures that the terms of the conservation easement will be followed in perpetuity.
“Orange County Land Trust is delighted to partner with Open Space Institute and the town of Warwick on the protection of this important farmland,” said Jim Delaune, Orange County Land Trust executive director. “Protecting our scenic and economically important lands is still a priority for our region, and we are committed to ensuring that these lands remain open and available for farming.”