Regional Farm Advocate Selected for Farmland Advisors Training Program


WORKING QUOTE:  "Participating in the Farmland Advisors Program will provide me with new tools, skills and contacts that I can in turn share with Catskills farmers and those looking to join our farming community." Sonia Janiszewski, Farm to Market Manager, Watershed Agricultural Council









WALTON, NY -- Sonia Janiszewski of the Watershed Agricultural Council has been selected to participate in Farmland Advisors, a new training program on farm transfer and farmland access options designed for professionals working with farmers and landowners. Janiszewski, Farm to Market Manager at the Watershed Agricultural Council, oversees the Farm to Market Program and its flagship economic initiative, the Pure Catskills buy local campaign, as well as beginner farmer initiatives like Catskills FarmLink, Catskills Craft and producer groups coordinated with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Delaware County.



With nearly 25 percent of the farmland in New York and New England owned by farmers aged 65 and older, transferring land to the next generation of farmers poses a significant challenge. The Farmland Advisors program was launched to strengthen the network of professionals capable of working with farmers and landowners on transferring farm businesses and farmland and aiding new farmers in securing land. "Our regional economy depends on keeping farms active, be it through transitioning the farm from one generation to another or facilitating the farm operation transfer to a younger, willing individual," notes Janiszewski. "Participating in the Farmland Advisors Program will provide me with new tools, skills and contacts that I can in turn share with Catskills farmers and those looking to join our farming community."


The two-year training program is led by American Farmland Trust, a nationwide farmland conservation organization, and Land For Good,an organization that helps provide farmland access, farm transfer planning, land planning, and farm use agreements. Funding is provided by a Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Professional Development Grant. Janiszewski was one of 80 participants selected from a large pool of qualified applicants from New York and New England. Other program candidates include Cooperative Extension educators, land trust staff, agricultural service providers and other professionals working with farmers and farmland owners.


Farmland Advisors addresses this challenge of facilitating farm transfer by educating participants through a series of progressive learning and networking opportunities, including webinars, a regional conference, and peer-to-peer exchanges about farmland and farm transfer issues. Training topics include building relationships with landowners; leases; conservation easements; family and personal issues in estate planning; and tax and financial considerations in farm transfers. Program development will be guided by a steering committee comprised of representatives from American Farmland Trust, Land for Good, New World Foundation, Northeast Beginning Farmer Project, Cornell Small Farms Program, New Entry Sustainable Farming Project, GrowNYC, University of Connecticut Extension, Maine Farmland Trust, Peconic Land Trust, New York FarmNet/FarmLink, and University of Vermont's Center for Sustainable Agriculture.


For more information about Farmland Advisors, contact Diane Held at (716) 471-7134 or [email protected]


About the Watershed Agricultural Council

Celebrating its 20th year, the Watershed Agricultural Council continues to protect both the rural, land-based economy of the watershed region and the drinking water quality of a reservoir system that serves over nine million New Yorkers. Partnering with farmers, agri-businesses, woodland owners, forest industry professionals and others, the Council furthers both regional business profitability and environmental stewardship. 


The Watershed Agricultural Council oversees a regional buy local initiative under the Pure Catskills brand that connects regional farm, food and wood product businesses to consumers and outside markets through direct marketing and online campaigns. The Council also assists private landowners in using a variety of best management practices, education, tools and approaches, such as conservation easements, to keep property within a working landscape. The Council protects over 22,000 acres of farmland through conservation easements, and works with over 500 farmers and 1,000 forest landowners in the Croton, Catskill and Delaware Watersheds.


The Watershed Agricultural Council works extensively through partnerships with other nonprofit organizations, government agencies and community stakeholders. These collaborations support a watershed management industry that employs hundreds of people throughout the region. The Council is funded in part by New York City Department of Environmental Protection, the U.S. Forest Service, U.S.D.A and other sources. For more information, visit and



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END: January 21, 2013

SUMMARY: Local farm advocate Sonia Janiszewski, Farm to Market Manager for the Watershed Agricultural Council, will participate in a regionally based Farmland Advisor Program hosted by American Farmland Trust. 


 Sonia Janiszewski 

Farm to Market Manager

Watershed Agricultural Council

(607) 865-7090, ext. 217 

[email protected] 


Tara Collins

Communications Director

Watershed Agricultural Council 

(607) 865-7790, ext. 226

(607) 643-5148 cell

[email protected]


The Watershed Agricultural Council is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to support the economic viability of agriculture and forestry through the protection of water quality and the promotion of land conservation in the New York City Watershed region. The WAC is funded by The New York City Department of Environmental Protection, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Forest Service and other federal, foundation and private sources. The WAC is an Equal Opportunity Providers and Employers.