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Tractor Harvesting CabbageBuilding Consensus to Implement Your Town's Farmland Protection Plan

Join American Farmland Trust for our webinar "Building Consensus to Implement Your Town's Farmland Protection Plan" on December 17 from 12 to 1:30 pm. This webinar will help towns awarded state funding for the development of an Agriculture and Farmland Protection Plan as well as communities thinking about getting a plan started learn some motivational techniques for getting their plans off the shelf and into action.

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New York Apples

Funding Opportunities for Agricultural Economic Development

This webinar will help grow your understanding of agricultural economic development approaches used across the state and ideas about what might work in your region. We’ll review examples of current programs, explore possible funding opportunities and discuss how partnerships can create successful agriculture economic development opportunities.

Guest Speakers Include:

Thomas N. (Tom) Sleight
Executive Director, New York Farm Viability Institute

Tom Sleight has served as the Executive Director of the New York Farm Viability Institute since 2006. He came back to New York having served a broad spectrum of agricultural constituents and customers from around the country and around the globe. 

Most recently Tom was the Director of the Division of Marketing for the Virginia Department of Agriculture, where he was responsible for local, regional and international marketing of the Virginia’s diverse array of food and agricultural products.

Prior to Virginia, Tom served as Executive Director of the U.S. Grains Council in Washington, DC, working on market development for U.S. corn, sorghum and barley throughout the world, including service as the Director of International Operations for Asia and as Regional Director for Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.

Tom is a native New Yorker, having grown up as the 8th generation on his family’s dairy farm in Dutchess County. Tom attended Cornell University for both undergraduate and graduate studies in Agronomy and Agricultural Economics. 

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Todd Erling
Executive Director, Hudson Valley AgriBusiness Development Corporation

With an academic background in environmental design and sustainable planning from Miami University and the Pratt Institute and years of experience in community and economic development, Todd developed the Hudson Valley's first regional organization to focus on the needs of agribusiness by applying traditional economic development assistance programs and expertise.

Todd is currently a member of the Columbia County Farm Bureau Board of Directors, Senator Gillibrand's Agricultural Working Group, Congressman Murphy's Agricultural Advisory Board, the Hudson Mohawk Resource Conservation and Development Council Board of Directors, the Columbia County Water District Board of Commissioners, the Hudson Valley Agriculture Partnership Steering Committee, and the Columbia County Bounty Board of Directors.

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Saratoga, NY farmland“Creating a Local Voice for Agriculture in Your Community,”

This webinar focuses on why a local voice in town government is important, how these commissions are structured and what types of projects they work on. 

Guest Speakers Include:

Pete Westover

Pete Westover

Pete Westover has worked for several years as a contractor with the Mass Dept of Agricultural Resources covering western Mass to help set up Ag Commissions and Right to Farm Bylaws. He is a partner in Conservation Works, LLC, an adjunct professor at Hampshire College, and formerly Conservation Director for the Town of Amherst, Mass.

Glenn Nellis

Glenn Nellis

Glenn Nellis has served as the Supervisor of the Town of Eden, Erie County (south of Buffalo) for the past 12 years.  Prior to becoming the Supervisor, he was Director of Development and assistant to the President at the State University at Buffalo for 30 years.  He holds a Bachelors in Political Science, a Masters in Public Administration from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University and a PhD in Higher Education from the University of Buffalo.

Webinar Resources

Town of Eden Right to Farm Law [PDF]

Eden Agriculture Advisory Lay [PDF]

Massachusetts Agriculture Commissions [Website]

Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources [Website]

For more information on the program contact Judy Wright, CNY Field Representative.


American Farmland Trust