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Land groups and town of New Scotland team up to save Indian Ladder Farms

ALBANY, NY - May 15, 2003 - On May 15, the Albany County Land Conservancy and the Open Space Institute held a press conference to announce the culmination of a successful effort to preserve Indian Ladder Farms, one of Albany County's two remaining orchards. The event took place at Indian Ladder Farms in New Scotland. 

Indian Ladder Farms is a fourth generation orchard in New Scotland, Albany County. The Farm is located in the shadows of the dramatic Helderberg Escarpment. In a successful public-private partnership, the Open Space Institute (OSI) and the Albany County Land Conservancy (ACLC) together generated the required funding to match a state farmland protection grant that was used to purchase a conservation easement on the farm. New York's State Department of Agriculture and Markets made a grant of $628,670 to the town of New Scotland, covering 75% of the cost of the development rights. OSI and ACLC worked together to secure the grant for the town. 

“Indian Ladder is an important community resource, offering pick your own opportunities to local families and out of town visitors. The property also has stunning views of the Helderbergs and encompasses sections of two environmentally significant wetlands — the Vly Creek Marsh and the Black Creek Marsh,” said Mike Sterthous, President of the Albany County Land Conservancy. 

Indian Ladder Farms is the first farm in Albany County to receive a state agricultural protection grant. Several years ago, the farm's Vice President, Laura Ten Eyck, reached out to the ACLC. “The Ten Eycks are conservation minded farmers and great stewards of the land. They have persevered to preserve this farm and the efforts have paid off,” said Sterthous. Landowner Peter Ten Eyck thanked the coalition of friends and supporters who made it possible to secure a conservation easement on 320 acres of his property. “I am proud and very grateful that this land will always be available for agriculture. Our family has been part of a large community of orchard growers in Albany for generations. Once there were 52 orchards in the county. Today there are only two,” continued Ten Eyck. 

“Preservation of the rural atmosphere and natural beauty of New Scotland is a priceless product of this partnership,” said New Scotland Town Supervisor, Ed Clark. “I congratulate and thank all the partners and my predecessor, Supervisor Martha Pofit, for their generosity, energy, and vision. It is a great gift to our town, county, and state.” 

“Today, we have good news to report thanks to a successful public-private partnership and a land ethic that has been passed down from generation to generation,” said Joe Martens, President of the Open Space Institute. “OSI's farmland protection program is expanding to address the loss of farmland throughout the Hudson River Valley. Rising real estate values make it very hard for farm families to turn down attractive offers for their properties, especially in light of global market pressures that are keeping prices for fruits and vegetables down.” 

Many people were involved in the effort to preserve Indian Ladder, Martens noted, emphasizing the need for local community support when farms are at risk. “We have to be sure to engage the local buyer because the role of consumers is oddly overlooked in discussions of farmland conservation. We've got to convince consumers to buy locally grown fruits and vegetables so the family farms we love will not be as vulnerable when a real estate developer comes knocking on the door,” said Martens.

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