AMITY, N.Y. (WIVB) — A dairy farm in Allegany County is fighting to keep its land and prevent it from being the site of a new manufacturing plant.
Dairy farmer Charlie Bares says people in the community aren’t opposed to a manufacturing plant being built in Allegany County. They just want it built in a location where it wouldn’t have such a negative effect on the environment.
He runs Mallards Dairy and owns more than 400 acres of land, but the county wants more than half of it. He says the acres of land the county is looking to take is a necessary component of his dairy farm, and they don’t want to sell the property.
“Cows nowadays when you have a big farm, it takes a lot of land to support the farm,” he said.
The Allegany County Industrial Development Agency filed for eminent domain to seize it.
If the county takes the land from Charlie and his family, an out-of-state company, Great Lakes Cheese which wants to leave its old plant in the Town of Cuba for here would then lease the property from the county to build a half-million square foot plant.
Charlie says if the soil in this area is destroyed it would take decades to regenerate.
“It’s very vital, we can not replace it. There’s very little land that’s within 20, 30 miles of our farm. Where we farm it’s primarily woods and hilltops so there’s very little good land around. This is one of the few pieces,” said Bares.
Great Lakes Cheese has argued that if it can’t rebuild here, the county would lose almost 230 jobs. The company also argues that it will also remove two million pounds of milk demand from the New York market, but if it can expand in the area, it will add 200 jobs.
More than 1,500 people have signed a petition in support of the dairy farmers and to draw attention to the loss of farmland in the United States.
“The eminent domain process is not fair and so maybe with our fighting back we can help some poor sucker in the future,” Bares said.
Sarah Minkewicz is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.