STAFF REPORT • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
Otsego Land Trust announced Gregory Farmer as its new Executive Director in a media release Sunday, Oct. 3.
Farmer will begin work Nov. 15.
Working with OLT’s Search Committee, Eos Transition Partners facilitated a national search.
“Being a native upstate New Yorker with an innate love for our region, Greg’s deep expertise and connections in the land trust and preservation communities across the northeast will be a great asset to all OLT’s benefactors, conservation easement donors, stakeholders and partners. OLT staff and board are excited to welcome Greg as our new leader,” said Carla Hall, OLT board director and search committee chairperson, in a media release.
Farmer was born and raised along the Erie Canal corridor. An early interest in the landscape and history of the region led him to the completion of a degree in American Studies from SUNY Brockport and a master’s degree in History Museum Studies from the Cooperstown Graduate Program at SUNY Oneonta. His initial focus on American material culture evolved into an emphasis on community development, affordable housing, and historic preservation in Western Massachusetts, eventually expanding into Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Maine. He previously worked for the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission and the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation in addition to managing community-based projects as an independent consultant.
“Partnerships are the basis of every successful project,” Farmer said in a media release. “Research and field documentation can tell us what we have,” he observed, “but only conversation in the community, paired with careful listening, can tell us what is possible.” Farmer has been laudably successful in securing project funding from a variety of private and public sources and has worked hand in hand with regulatory agencies to ensure funding transparency for the greatest public benefit.
Farmer’s favorite projects have been those that link communities directly to the natural landscape, especially farmland, forests, and waterways.
“Farming in the Northeast has never been easy, but the landscape of the region is so often defined by the relationship between farmland and villages. Sustainable agriculture that maintains the quality of the soil and provides a reasonable economic return is key to the preservation of the area’s rural character.”
In Farmer’s view, “healthy forests and clean waterways are shared amenities that improve the quality of life for everyone.”
“I am delighted to be returning to Central New York and to have the opportunity to work with the talented staff, board, and partners of the Otsego Land Trust,” Farmer said in the media release. The organization’s strong history of land protection through its successful collaboration with landowners and with other nonprofits attracted him to the position. “The generational challenge for everyone who appreciates the exceptional beauty of the Upper Susquehanna region is to address the effects of climate change on our natural ecosystems. The legacy of farmland, forests and waterways is at risk unless we act together.”
Founded in 1987, Otsego Land Trust has conserved more than 11,000 acres in perpetuity of woodlands, farmlands and waters in the northernmost headwaters of the Susquehanna Watershed. OLT’s work sustains communities, supports wildlife diversity, and ultimately improves the collective health of Otsego, Delaware, Herkimer and Schoharie Counties. OLT’s efforts include: conservation easements on privately owned lands, eight public access sites with a wide variety of recreational uses including Brookwood Point in Cooperstown, trade lands, and educational programs connecting kids to nature to build the next generation who will champion our sustainable landscape.