The Agricultural Stewardship Association (ASA) is a nonprofit, community-supported land conservancy dedicated to protecting local farmland and working forests from encroaching development.
Since our founding in 1990, we have helped conserve over 26,000 acres on 154 properties in Washington and Rensselaer counties in the Upper Hudson River Valley. ASA is one of the very few land trusts in New York State focused exclusively on conserving working farms and forests.
Land conserved for agricultural or forestry purposes can never be used for housing developments or commercial development.
ASA saves working farms and forests for future generations
Each family that has protected their land has a unique story, and every conserved farm and forest contributes in its own way to our vision for the continued vitality of agriculture and working forests in our region.
There are several options available to landowners who are interested in permanently protecting their land from development. In some cases, ASA can help landowners (usually active farmers) apply for government funding to reimburse the landowner for giving up their development rights in perpetuity. Where government funding is not available, landowners may be able to donate their development rights by giving up those rights for free. This may provide the landowners with certain tax advantages.
We’ll advise on the suitability of each option, based on the goals of the landowner, the attributes of the land, the availability of funding and various other factors.
Once the land is protected by a conservation agreement, ASA takes on a permanent responsibility for stewardship, including annual visits to the land and meetings with landowners to ensure that conservation goals are maintained.
Conservation agreements (also known as easements) endure forever, meaning these acres will always be kept as farmland or working forests. Forever.
ASA connects local communities to the land
ASA’s work is actively supported by many dedicated people who donate time, assets and professional expertise. We are fortunate to live in and near communities that share a love for the land and take an active role in protecting it.
ASA offers a variety of events and programs throughout the year, including workshops, farm visits, hikes, farm-to-table dinners and a regionally prominent art show, “Landscapes for Landsake”. All of our endeavors are tied to the land in some way and focus on community involvement in farmland and working forest conservation.
To ensure that high-quality farmland continues to be available to the next generation, ASA actively participates in American Farmland Trust’s Hudson Valley Farmlink Network and Farmland for a New Generation New York program. These programs help beginning farmers as well as farmers looking to transfer their land to the next generation. Services include a website where farmers can look for land to purchase, lease or manage, and where landowners can list farms available for sale or lease. ASA also hosts farm tours and programs for farm-seekers and has made successful matches as a result.
In 2019, ASA purchased its first piece of land, the 140-acre Cambridge Community Forest. The Forest will provide a demonstration site for sustainable forest management as well as new recreational and educational opportunities for the community. The Forest was officially opened to the public in November 2021. Learn more about the forest here.
ASA is accredited by the national Land Trust Accreditation Commission and adheres to nationally established standards and practices.