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Conservation grant will target farmland protection

A $100,000 state grant will enable the Western New York Land Conservancy to hire a full-time farmland protection specialist to help increase the pace of farmland protection.

The grant is part of $2.25 million in Conservation Partnership Program grants this year for 47 nonprofit land trusts across the state. The grants will leverage an additional $2.2 million in private and local funding to support projects that protect water quality and farmland.

The grants were announced at a press conference at Buffalo's Red Jacket Riverfront Park Thursday. Funding comes from the state Environmental Protection Fund, and grants are administered through the Land Trust Alliance in cooperation with the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

In the past five years, the Western New York Land Conservancy has protected 562 acres on four farms, and it hopes to double the amount of land protected from development in the next five years by working with current and next-generation farmers.

Also receiving grants locally are Grassroots Gardens WNY, $60,000, and Buffalo Niagara River Land Trust, $30,000.

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