Farm Bureau suggests agriculture at EPCAL

11/18/2010 7:47 PM |

TIM GANNON PHOTO | Long Island Farm Bureau president Frank Beyrodt, left, and farmer Lyle Wells asked the Riverhead Town Board Thursday to consider renting land at EPCAL to farmers as a way of making money until a suitable buyer is found.

The Long Island Farm Bureau is suggesting Riverhead Town lease a portion of  town-owned land at the former Northrop Grumman property in Calverton — land which is commonly referred to as EPCAL — to farmers as a way to make money while it searches for a potential buyer.

“For years, we’ve wondered why agriculture was not being considered for EPCAL,” said Aquebogue farmer Lyle Wells. “The best way to hold land, we’ve found, is to keep farming it.”

Mr. Wells and LIFB president Frank Beyrodt discussed that possibility during a Town Board work session Thursday. The town recently ended two contracts with companies looking to purchase large swaths of acreage at the site.

The nearby Stony Brook University-owned Calverton Business Incubator will soon expand to include a new agriculture consumer science center and the farm bureau said it would make sense to have adjacent land available for farming.
“There would be no carbon footprint,” Mr. Beyrodt said of leasing the land to farmers. Trucks and trains would not be needed to transport the farm products, he said.

Mr. Wells said one problem farming faces on Long Island is a shortage of land.

Councilman George Gabrielsen, who supports the idea, said there is probably about 1,000 acres at EPCAL that could be used for farming. Mr. Wells said farmers would need a lease of between three to five years.

Councilman John Dunleavy and Councilwoman Jodi Giglio also expressed support for the idea.

Councilman Jim Wooten said zoning could be a problem, since he doesn’t believe agriculture is permitted at EPCAL under current law.

The land was given to the town by the federal government to be used for economic development.

“This is very preliminary,” Mr. Wells said. If the Town Board shows that it is committed to the idea, the Farm Bureau will then go back to its members to see how many farmers are interested in farming at EPCAL.

“This has been on the drawing board for a while, but everything always seemed to be pending at EPCAL,” Mr. Beyrodt said. “Now, nothing is pending.”

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26 Comment

  • Who the hell cares about zoning? If they wanted to build a skyscraper, that would be zoning up, but by farming the land, they’re zoning down! So what’s the big deal? Just issue a temporary permit, along with a lease agreement so they can farm the land until something else come up. Why does everything have to be so damn difficult in this town? With short-sighted leadership like this, it’s no wonder that the EPCAL property has gone so stale. In the immortal words of Frank Barone… Holy-crap!

  • Finally, someone has come up with a great lets get farming….

  • sounds like a win-win to me. it would be keeping with the landscape of the community, producing food for markets, and no carbon footprint. the polution that would come from resorts and a race track would be dramatic, not to mention the influx of people. we have enough people clogging our roads now.

  • While pollution from agriculture could be expected to be less than a race trac or huge resort, there should still be some effort to stipulate that agricultural use will involve limited amounts of nitrogen (fertilizers) and pesticides. While it would take too much time to certify the property as organic, not showering the crops grown there in synthetic materials would make them extremely attractive produce for the local economy.

  • What exactly is anyone suggesting that they farm? The area around the taxiways and runways? What about that “short eared owl” or the other migratory, non-indigenous bird that has been “sighted” by the open space people? Or did that only happen in 2007? Plus the noise from the farm equipment may upset someone. While not the worst suggestion I’ve heard, won’t this interfere with the subdivision process? I’m amazed at what comes out of the wood work sometimes.

  • What exactly is anyone suggesting that they farm? Before the Navy came to town back in 1953 much of the land was farmland. Today if any of that land is farmed, most, if not all, of the birds, deer and other animals would adapt to the area. Are you serious about the noise that the farm equipment and that it may upset someone? If you are, then you should put yourself in a cocoon and enjoy the peace and quite that the solitude would bring. Tractors make noise, Airplanes make noise, trucks make noise. Some get upset about those noises, but if we offend those who don’t like noise, lets go hunting buffalo like the natives did by using a bow and arrow because guns make noise too. I’m amazed by what comes out of the wood work also in the form of asinine comments.

  • You know, it was farmland before it became Navy ( Gov’t ) property.

  • Alonzo you seem to have missed “what” point

    That to me was saying… it’s ok to farm and there are no issues, everyone is ready to jump on board…

    Get it… when someone proposes a motorsports park that will actually make, bring jobs, business, economy…..

    Then there are owls, salamanders, all kinds of SUPER issues that must be done to stop such activities….

    But farming has no issues… Alonzo have you ever done any farming other then farmville on FaceBook…… it’s not the same…

  • This is hysterical…. I am almost ready to call a psychologist and have him/her accompany me and visit the town board…

    Lets look at facts….. tax increase this year is 4.something…. Next year it isn’t going down

    13 or 15 people are losing there jobs…

    Farms have sought the county and towns to buy there property and hold the development rights so they can continue farming

    Now we have this wild idea, or tactic to stall the property from making money again….

    Lets see here, since i can not believe i am the only intelligent person on this island…. though when i read things like this and then the comments… I might be…

    It would take the town of riverhead right NOW to come up with over another 3 million to keep those 13 or 15 employees alone….forget all the other stuff you have and are going to be without in another month…
    BUT, but lease the property on a 5 year lease….

    5 YEAR lease…. so you can’t sell the property now…. so you WILL lose the only INTERESTED party with MONEY, oh REAL money…

    5 YEAR lease for 250,000 a year….

    LMMFAO ! ! ! ! The past 4 years and this year alone with what the town board of RHT has and is doing will make the funniest comedy yet to come out of hollywood…

    5 year lease at 250,000 a year… so next year you can expect to lose more… and the next year, and the year after that…ect, ect

    That 250,000 won’t cover anything….

    Now there will be no trees there at all…. but the enviros and dick amper… nothing to say… how amazing…

    Mr.Wooten, clearly the only one thinking

    If this could happen since the rest of the town board fails to read the stips for the land for $1… I would love to see all the illegals RIGHT across from the Calverton National Cemetery…. shitting in the woods over there, and using the cemetery for there shelter…

    Great idea you empty heads…. what world do any of you live in, surely you all go to work and come home, run inside lock the door and live, experience thru tv…

  • by giving them a 3 to 5 year lease the land will go stale for another 3 to 5 years, not to mention NOT bring in the money the town needs to survive. What is all this talk I hear about a Race Track polluting the ground??? what do you guys think we change our oil in the pits and dump it in the woods?? There is no pollution from a dragstrip that I’m aware of, not any more then we get from the cars that you ALL DRIVE EVERY DAY. How many of you complaining about pollution and noise drive SUV’s???

    and it amazes me that people like alonzo defend noise when it comes to Farming but condemn it when it comes to a race track. heres his words

    “Tractors make noise, Airplanes make noise, trucks make noise. Some get upset about those noises, but if we offend those who don’t like noise, lets go hunting buffalo like the natives did by using a bow and arrow because guns make noise too. I’m amazed by what comes out of the wood work also in the form of asinine comments. “

  • Supershaft, undoubtedly you must be a gear head and there is not a thing wrong with being one. I am one also. But let’s be realistic about a motorsports park. When Nascar runs at Martinsville Va. the roads become clogged for days. The Grumman site was farmland before the Navy condemned the area where they wanted Grumman to build fighter aircraft. Condemnation and building aircraft at that site would never happen today because of all of the opposition to airplane noise and the elimination of many trees to build the runways. When this land was no longer needed by the Navy, it was given to the town of Riverhead to be utilized as a job creating district. The offshoot of having a motorsports complex at this site may bring jobs to the area, but at what expense? The intent of the transfer was to bring industry, ie manufacturing jobs to the area and that would take tax incentives to draw industry here. It would take a few years to get through the required red tape to get permits to build at Epcal and in the meantime some of the land could be farmed. Nature is farming that land as we sit and argue what’s best for the area. Lots of cedar trees and other brush is growing where there was once wide open spaces on the southern side of state road 25 opposite the Calverton National Cemetary. That area could be farmed but because this was just a suggestion by the farm bureau, farming will never happen at Grumman. As always, a few people are making the most noise about whatever is proposed there and the majority, who should be speaking up, will be leaving the area soon anyway.
    Supershaft, it seems to me that you are a farmer on FaceBook— I don’t go there but I was a real farmer in my day. Let’s not be arrogant in our replys or comments please.

  • To respond to Alonzo I believe a cocoon is what the motor sports is already in. While I realize you and your kind are trying to push us into the sea and be done with us forever so the good people can enjoy this lovely sliver of land and the tranquil lifestyle. YOUR LIFESTYLE that has been dictated to us for minus 39 race track years now is what is the problem. If you pepole were all REAL AMERICANS you would maybe reach out and help us find a solution, like my Dad raised me to do. I’m not out to ruin peoples lives, make them live to my standards. I’m out to try and save lives,to keep others from suffering the loss of a child dying on the street and feel a legal and safe option is the only solution. my Dad fought in two wars in the Pacific theater and when he ame back he went on with life did what he had to do. He worked at that very Grumman site as did many of my relatives did and is entitled to a spot in that National cemetary, but chose to purchase a private location so soildiers with less could have a dignified site to be laid to rest. I’m old school like my Dad I believe in greater good. If you all want to push us in a corner that makes everybody happy, give us that corner we will gladly take it, but like I said I’m old school American and react to being pushed around. If you were sooooo concerned you would extend that helping hand.

  • FARMING?????????Are you serious???The only thing that I can see growing there that would have an extreamly LARGE cash crop,that could bring the revenue to the town of Riverhead for the immediate relief so desparately needed,produce jobs and inject the local economy with unlimited potential is,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,A MOTORSPORTS PARK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Wake up and smell the race fuel.If you are reading what I am peckin’ on this keyboard,than you have the ability to see what a motorsports park in Carolina,Florida,Georga,Virginia{I could go across the US} and see how much revenue is generated to the goverment in sales taxes{AND THIER RATES ARE HALF OF OURS!!} and the local hotels,resturants,supermarkets,and so fourth.They LOVE when the big race is in town.
    How many farms have failed in Suffolk county in the recent past???What jobs would be created with a farm??More {illegal migrant workers} tractor sales.The farmers in the US are hurting.We NEED to go with the flow,,,,,,,,CASH FLOW! My name is Al Levine and I am a proud member of LONG ISLAND MOTORSPORTS ASSOCIATION!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Riverhead need ‘s Money now !!!
    There is a buyer with cash in hand for a small peice of the property to build a Drag strip at the south end there are Millions of Dollars ready for Riverhead.
    That alone will save alot of jobs that are on the chopping block in Riverhead

    What happens when you plant crops and the deer have a feild day and start eating it all,you have to start shooting every one of them to save the crop!!!. Or fence off 1000 acres who will pay for that?
    The track will bring in money, jobs ,and new bussiness into the area that is needed badly
    What about all the property on the north side of 51 farm there!!



  • Riverhead is sick . A Motorports facility would be the medicine .I like farming ,But you need to generate revenue .

  • Alonzo i am not a FB farmer, however i worked my uncles farm many many years every summer for free.
    That 4000 acre farm is no longer, despite my many years of free service.

    What about the roads clogged for pumpkin picking… That’s ok

    You do realize YOU are arguing traffic from the L.I.E. down wading river road, making a right turn onto grumman blvd and into the property…

    You do realize that is your argument!?!? if you need help in getting around that i’ll be happy to give you 3 other routes to use for those 2 days a year for probably 3 hours, if that….

    There were 5,000 to 9,000 employees coming and going from grumman at the high point, and i seem to remember no traffic issues when i used to come and watch the F-14’s do practice and touch and go’s, but mention motorsports and there is a terrible horror that comes with it…. and reasons to stop it….
    This is the birth place of motorsports in the U.S.
    Farmers used there land to sell to track builders.

    We are talking Just a few days…. pumpkin picking hasn’t halted or stopped taxes… Yet the traffic is a burden, Motorsports can halt and even lower taxes, for that a few days a year i’ll be happy when that is the reason for traffic… Though that big bad wolf traffic issue won’t be a problem at all..

    Motorsports brings with it jobs.
    Motorsports brings with it tech, design, fabrication and MANUFACTURING, all the things the Navy was looking for the property to bring and the reason it OUTLINED Motorsports as a positive in there extensive re-use development plan.

    Lets just think what it is we are trying to accomplish here…. we aren’t trying to just find something to be on the property, we are trying to find something to WORK positively and become a economic generator……

    M. Johnson, member of the Long Island Motorsports Association

  • The county has purchased farms developmental rights., all over the Island go farm there. I say that in a nice way farms are great and we need HAY. Plenty sit vacant . I would love to see more HAY grown on the Island so I dont have to drive upstate or to Canada to get hay. However, I would rather see an Equestrian facility on that Riverhead property and the farmers use up the land the county has already purchased the developmental rights too.

    They purchased Developmental Rights to a 6 acre horse farm for 1.4 million. The man left the farm without fixing it up to lease and thus not leasing it to continue it as a equestrian site, and its nothing but an eye saw. He is sitting in FL some place with lower taxes on the land he still owns in NY, and on top of that the town chipped in .6 million. So 2 million later I ask WHY. Go farm there. It’s used as a little tiny access to a trail. Plus so much more land has been purchase this way that is sitting dong nothing go farm there. Who owns those farms I would like to know to see if it’s anyone now looking to farm at the riverhead site. I aske why are these vaccant farms not used if we need farm land so bad. WE NEED HAY SO IT’S A GREAT IDEA BUT FARM ON THOSE PLOTS FIRST.
    In the meantime Southaven Equestrian Center sits empty a HORSE FARM THE COUNTY ALREADY OWNS, for the lack of 1.8 million (.5 of that is in a fund already for it ) to rebuild it to state of the art Equestrian facility. I REPEAT THE COUNTY ALREADY OWNS THAT LAND FIX THAT FIRST BEFORE MORE LAND IS GIVEN AWAY. Let the farmers use the land the COUNTY spent money saving and pay the county for the use so we can rebuild Southaven . We need a Equestrian facility on that site in Riverhead one way or the other. It’s an embbarasement that with the figures we have on horses we have no Equestrian Facilty. Also many State, County, Town parcels have both NASCAR and a Equestrian Facility on the site that brings in revenue all year and supplys the folks that want these recreational venues a place to go. Our numbers for both Motorsport folks and Horse folks are huge. LI is home to more horses per square Acer than any place in the US. We rank 2nd in Districts in the state and the in counties in the state in equine wealth, yet we have no facility. The Hampton Classics is held on a farm, no indoor so if it rains they ride in the rain, once a year and the farm sits all year. When folks ask me in TX, OK , KY what must the indoor coliseum look like at the Hamptons I answer its not like what you folks have, no indoor just a horse farm with Tents for stalls and if it rains the vendors are wash out and they ride in the muddy farm. All that to ride with politicians and movie stars its a JOKE. They need and they deserve a Indoor and a Facility for one of the biggest shows in the country I attend shows much larger and with 2,3 Coliseums on the property and NASCAR. These facilities are state and county owned very few private. Why don’t we have one on LI home to 24% of the SHOW HORSES IN THE STATE. There are vacant farm lands and open land all over the Island the county has purchased go farm there first than talk to us.
    Or wise up and grow hay at least you don’t have to be a genius to see it would sell, and build a facility next door so you can sell your hay to all the show people coming and going like they do at Syracuse, QH Congress, and all over the US. Hay is the biggest agricultural product in NY because of horses. So build us a facility on LI and go grow hay on all the other already vacant farms the county already purchased the developmental rights too.

  • Alonzo,
    At the Town Board meeting on Nov. 16,2010, a Gold Star Mother addressed the board. Among her statements, were claims that sounds from the parcel in question would disturb the peace at the National Cemetary. She went on to list the haunted house, sky divers,and the legal shooting range off of Connecticut ave.. She stated that Calverton National Cemetary is “sacred ground” and needs to be respected as such. All of this was duely recorded and videotaped, as well as reported.
    With regards to the origins of the Naval Weapons Industrial Reserve Plant, a 1954 airial photo graph shows wooded ground coverage. A photo that was taken 4 years before I was born. So if in deed there was farming done there, and you remember it, you are definetly my senior and I won’t challenge you or your memory. But I have seen nothing so far that supports it.
    A motorsports/entertainment use was suggested in the paperwork for the transfer of this land for the 755 acre parcel. The industrial parcel is the 300 acres just released by Rechler Equity Partners. With the town exploring subdivision and uses with a consulting firm, I see nothing happening anywhere at EPCAL until that is resolved
    Art Bichsel
    Member of the Long Island Motorsports Association

  • Outlawacre brought up a good point, there have been many acres purchased everywhere on Long Island by local, county, state and federal agencies. In his posting though he says these government agencies bought these properties making it sound like they reached into their pockets to purchase these parcels. It is our pockets they are reaching into to buy these properties through the insane tax rates we pay here. Their is a small group that tends to steers these activitiese and some of these parcels back up to land they own and they remain unused on purpose. The EPCAL property is for sale for development which cost taxpayers nothing. The town boards intent is to I believe relieve the tax burden their constituants suffer. As stated in his post the amuont of show horses per acre on L.I. with no real place to go holds true for the motor sports community there more comp license drivers per sq. mile here than anywhere else in the country. I also strongly feel as a civic minded individual that a safe purpose built motor sports facility will save lives on our public roadways. Feature events will only be a few times a year and generate tons of money for the local economy, the rest of the time it will provide that safe alternative. So I ask is it worth sitting in traffic those few times to maybe save a life? What that life was yours our somebody close to you? would it have been worth it then, but by that time it’s too late.

  • I am not 100 years old, but from what i know part of the 6000+ acres was purchased from a farmer Mr. Edwards and the F. W. Woolworth property with the mansion on it.

    That doesn’t mean the property was ever used for farming, just as my uncles 4000 acres wasn’t all used for farming either….

    Of that 6000+ acres, over time 1000 was donated to CNC and 2900+ acres was donated to the Department of Environmental Conservation for wildlife management.

    The other Already developed 2500 acres was donated/sold to riverhead for $1 to be redeveloped as laid out thru the re-development plan…

    Which i wish people would do some homework and find out for themselves since no one seems to believe me when i tell them….

    The area up for development of the 2500 acres is only a total of 1100 acres, still leaving 1400 acres along with the 2900+ acres = 4300 acres of open space to add to the THOUSANDS of acres already put aside for open space…..

    Re-open all those 10’s of thousands acres for open space and farm that….

    Or help out the farm on rt 51, the 1 not farming, or the gentlemen on exit 69, or the many others that farm bureau should have it’s eye on, what exactly does that farm bureau do? ?

    As a side not for the comment of clogged roads, during the US opens at bridgehampton, daily, daily everyday 50,000 + people used exit 71 to get to bridgehampton for the US opens

    Guess where there were no traffic concerns ?

  • How many people on Long Island today would like to make $70,000 year?

    If you do please read the attached motorsports link.

    “According to the study, about $4 billion of that total amount impacted the Charlotte area alone, creating over 18,000 motorsports-related jobs. The average compensation for direct motorsports generated jobs was over $70,000 per year.”

  • EXACTLY…..


    If you Farmers need help or solutions, please ask me, i’ll help as best i can, seems this bureau is like a pay me to do nothing organization.
    Like so many others, like the pine barrens and save the forge river.. what they do is —- i’ll tell you a somewhat white lie, and scare you and you pay me to keep it from any big bad wolf alien invaders harm….meanwhile i’ll do nothing to do anything…

    I love those organizations… they amaze me how many people they suck in…

    Like i said in another area here, there is a farmer on 51, looks as though the farm bureau could do some good there, and the farmer on ex 69….and the farmer of the horse farm mentioned by Outlawacres and there are a few more, the one off the lie between 68 and 69 could use some help….
    I have nothing to do with the farm bureau, and look at all the good they aren’t doing…

    You boys better pick them eggs up and put em in a basket, before someone comes walking thru…


  • Just a short note to Supershaft- I also worked at Grumman along with many of the locals and at one time Grumman had approximately 38,000 to 39,000 workers on Long Island and about 35oo of us worked at the Calverton site. I don’t need any help getting around – I know all of the back roads and shortcuts. I am not against Nascar, if anyone gets that impression. Doesn’t anyone think that Wm Floyd Parkway wouldn’t be used to get to the Grumman site as it was when Grumman was there. I would have liked to see a commercial airport there but too many Nimbies killed that as they will when Long Island Motorsports talks racing. One lawsuit after another will be brought agains the town and the LIMA, so get lots of high priced lawyers to help with your endeavor. Take a look at McAuther airport in Islip and see how much industry is around that airport. I have always said that the former Grumman site would have made an excellent transportation hub. A small commuter airport, a train terminal and busses to transport people to the north and south fork, and a racetrack could fit in also– but again- that will never happen because of all the opposition to anything that will keep this area alive. We all have to overcome this not in my backyard crap