Collaboration leads to largest round of Delaware farmland preservation in several years

 

Media: 2017 Delaware Agricultural Lands Preservation Program Round 21 Map

2017 Delaware Agricultural Lands Preservation Program Round 21 Selection List

DOVER— More than 124,000 acres of Delaware farmland are now permanently preserved for future generations, with 3,039 acres of easements selected into the state’s preservation program. This is the 21st consecutive year of easement selections by the Delaware Agricultural Lands Preservation Foundation. Many of the farms in this round would not have been preserved without matching funds from multiple sources, including the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), New Castle County, and Kent County Levy Court.

“I am proud to announce the largest round of Delaware farmland permanently preserved through the Delaware Agricultural Lands Preservation Program in the last several years. This is a result of federal funding from the Natural Resources Conservation Service and funding from both New Castle County and Kent County,” said Delaware Secretary of Agriculture Michael Scuse. “I want to thank the state Natural Resources Conservation Service staff, as well as the Washington, D.C. staff in helping us to obtain funding that we haven’t had for several years. I also want to thank New Castle County and Kent County for their contributions and commitment to preserving farmland. It is because of the importance that the General Assembly and the Governor’s office have placed on this program and through the cooperation of our partners, that we can make it possible to keep Delaware land in farming.”

In this round of easement selections, there were three farms in New Castle County, eighteen in Kent County, and thirteen in Sussex County preserved.

“Farmland preservation is vital to protecting open space while supporting our thriving agricultural economy,” New Castle County Executive Matthew Meyer said. “New Castle County is proud to collaborate with the state’s farmland preservation program for the first time in five years and to work alongside federal, state, local and nonprofit partners to accomplish this shared goal in the most cost-effective manner. Today’s announcement demonstrates the impact we are having together to preserve the most land at the best value for taxpayers.”

The Delaware Agricultural Lands Preservation Foundation approves all applications, using an impartial discounted ranking system that maximizes benefits for taxpayers. The Foundation does not own the land, but rather purchases landowners’ development rights and has a permanent agricultural conservation easement placed on the property.

Delaware’s statewide program made its first round of easement purchases in 1996, and has since preserved 21 percent of New Castle County farmland, 37 percent of Kent County farmland and 16 percent of Sussex County farmland.

“We are very pleased to once again partner with the Delaware Department of Agriculture in the preservation of significant working farms in Kent County” said County Administrator, Mike Petit de Mange. “This year, our collective efforts will permanently preserve 10 additional farm properties involving over 600 Acres for Agriculture. We see this as a wise investment in the future of our number one industry in Central Delaware.”

County governments can choose to partner with the state program and add county funds to select properties in their areas, leveraging state resources for the greatest impact. In the round announced today, New Castle County contributed $194,389 to help purchase development rights on one farm, while Kent County contributed $101,232 to partially purchase development rights on ten properties.

Delaware also has more than 53,000 acres of farmland in preservation districts, voluntary agreements in which landowners agree to only use their land for agriculture for 10 years. Farmers must enroll in a preservation district before they can sell an easement.

The Foundation’s Board of Trustees includes representatives from agriculture and state agencies. Trustees are: Bob Garey, chairman; Bill Vanderwende, vice-chairman; L. Allen Messick Jr., treasurer; William H. “Chip” Narvel Jr., secretary; Secretary of Agriculture Michael Scuse; State Treasurer Ken Simpler; Secretary of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Shawn Garvin; Peter Martin; Theodore P. Bobola Jr.; Robert Emerson; and Janice Truitt.

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Media Contact: Stacey Hofmann, 302-698-4542, stacey.hofmann@delaware.gov


Governor Carney’s Statement on Senate Confirmations

“Thank you to the members of the Delaware Senate for confirming a group of dedicated public servants to positions in my Cabinet. Together, we will work to improve our public education system; make common-sense criminal justice reforms; invest in Delaware’s agricultural industry; expand broadband access; make affordable housing more accessible; and continue to make investments that modernize our Delaware National Guard.”

The Delaware Senate voted to confirm the following nominees to Governor Carney’s Cabinet on Wednesday:

Photo of Brigadier General Carol A. TimmonsBrigadier General Carol A. Timmons was confirmed as the next Adjutant General of the Delaware National Guard. General Timmons will replace Lieutenant General Francis D. Vavala, who will retire effective January 31 after nearly 50 years of service. He has led the Delaware National Guard as Adjutant General since 1999.

General Carol A. Timmons is currently the Assistant Adjutant General responsible for leading the Delaware Air National Guard, commanding an authorized force of 1,100 Airmen and ensuring that all Guard Airmen are trained, organized and equipped to support federal and state missions.

General Timmons has served as a member of the Delaware National Guard for 39 years, serving as a pilot in both the Delaware Army National Guard and the Delaware Air National Guard.

She is a veteran of Operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Southern Watch, Joint Guard, Iraqi Freedom, and Enduring Freedom. In 2008, she earned a Bronze Star for her service commanding a combat deployment to Afghanistan.

General Timmons will become Delaware’s first female Adjutant General, with responsibility for preparing the Delaware National Guard to support both federal and state missions.

 

Photo of Secretary Ben AddiAnas Ben Addi was confirmed to continue serving as Director of the Delaware State Housing Authority, a housing finance and community development agency that ensures that Delawareans have access to quality, affordable housing and oversees community and neighborhood revitalization efforts statewide.

Ben Addi was first nominated by Governor Jack Markell and confirmed by the Delaware Senate in 2009 to lead DSHA. During his time as Director, Ben Addi has helped launch and implement the State Rental Assistance Program, which helps Delawareans who require supportive services to live safely and independently in their communities.

He also has expanded access to DSHA’s low-cost mortgage programs and led efforts to drive private investment in Delaware’s downtown areas through the Downtown Development Districts program.

 

 

Image of Susan Bunting Department of Education SecretaryDr. Susan Bunting was confirmed as Secretary of the Delaware Department of Education, overseeing Delaware’s public school system and serving as an education policy adviser to the Governor.

Since 2006, Dr. Bunting has been Superintendent of the Indian River School District, one of the state’s largest school districts serving more than 10,000 students. Dr. Bunting has worked at Indian River since 1977, first as a teacher, and later as the district’s Supervisor of Elementary Instruction and K-12 Director of Instruction.

In 2012, she was one of four finalists for the American Association of School Administrators’ National Superintendent of the Year award. Dr. Bunting earned a Doctorate in Education Leadership from the University of Delaware.

 

 

Photo of Robert CoupeRobert Coupe was confirmed as Secretary of the Delaware Department of Safety and Homeland Security, the agency with responsibility for protecting the safety and welfare of all Delawareans, overseeing the Delaware State Police, the Delaware Emergency Management Agency, and the State Council for Persons with Disabilities, among other divisions.

Coupe has served as Commissioner of the Delaware Department of Correction since 2013, having been appointed by Governor Jack Markell and confirmed by the Delaware Senate. In his current position, he oversees Delaware’s correctional system, leading an agency with 2,500 employees that supervises more than 7,000 inmates.

Previously, he spent more than 28 years at the Delaware State Police, including more than three years leading the State Police as Superintendent. During his career as a State Trooper, he worked as a Detective in the Major Crimes and Homicide units, drill instructor at the training academy, Patrol Sergeant, and Internal Affairs investigator.

 


Photo of CIO CollinsJames Collins
was confirmed to continue serving as Chief Information Officer at the Delaware Department of Technology and Information, overseeing the department that provides technology services to state organizations and serving as a technology adviser to the Governor.

Collins was first nominated as Chief Information Officer by Governor Jack Markell and confirmed by the Delaware Senate in 2014. During his tenure, Collins has expanded broadband services across rural areas in Delaware, helped implement the Delaware Cyber Security Advisory Council and expanded the state’s open data portal.

He previously served as Deputy Secretary of State and Deputy Chief of Staff to Governor Markell. Earlier, he was a senior consultant with Peregrine Systems and MAXIMUS Inc., implementing large-scale software projects for clients including Pepsi Bottling Group, the U.S. Marine Corps and the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority. Collins is also an 8-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force, where he helped implement the Composite Healthcare System to convert from paper-based to electronic record and scheduling systems.

 

 

Photo of Michael ScuseMichael Scuse was confirmed as Secretary of the Delaware Department of Agriculture, an agency that promotes and supports Delaware’s agricultural industry, oversees food inspection services to protect Delaware consumers, ensures agricultural compliance statewide, and helps conserve forest resources.

Scuse has served as the Acting Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture since March 2016, helping support the national agricultural industry, promote vibrant rural communities, and open new markets for America’s farmers. Previously, Scuse was nominated by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate as Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services, leading efforts to promote American agricultural products globally. From 2001 to 2008, he served Secretary of the Delaware Department of Agriculture under then-Governor Ruth Ann Minner.


Governor Carney Accepts Policy Report from Transition Committee

DOVER, Del. – Governor John Carney today received a final report from the Transition Committee that includes recommended action steps in order to achieve policy objectives set forth by the Governor. The Transition Committee created an “Action Plan for Delaware” as a guide for Governor Carney and his administration.

“Thank you to the entire Transition team and all Delawareans who contributed ideas and comments on how we can make Delaware an even better place to live and work,” said Governor Carney. “This report is thorough yet succinct, and it’s something that we can act on. You have put in many hours into helping create an inclusive and diverse report during our transition, and now it’s time to take action.”

“It was a privilege to serve on the Transition team with three dozen committed Delawareans from across our state, and to produce this report on behalf of Governor Carney and the people of Delaware,” said Bill Bowser, Chair of Governor Carney’s Transition Team. “We took the work seriously, presenting detailed action steps that offer a path forward as the new administration takes office. Thank you to the Governor and everyone involved on the four Transition committees, who worked around the clock on this effort over the past two months.”

The Transition Team was divided into four policy committees to develop policy proposals for the Governor’s consideration. The policy committees focused on: Economic Development & Healthy Environment (Doneene Damon, co-chair); Public Safety & Strong Neighborhoods (Charles Madden, co-chair); Education & Healthy Families (Lolita Lopez, co-chair); and Budget & Workforce (Todd Lawson, co-chair). The committees reached out to stakeholders, held public meetings and invited the public to submit written comment.

A link to the full report can be found here: http://de.gov/transitionreport