Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Agricultural District Maps: Protecting and Encouraging Farming

The State Legislature enacted the New York Agricultural Districts law in 1971 to protect and promote the availability of land for farming purposes. Subsequent amendments have broadened its scope, as per Article 25-AA. The law provides a locally initiated mechanism at the county level for creating, modifying and approving Agricultural Districts. The Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets certifies that a district meets the purpose and intent of the Agricultural District Law after the county submits a resolution approving a district. For more information about the protections and benefits of Ag Districts, visit this page on the Ag and markets website.

Farmers interested in adding land or removing land from a locally approved, state certified Agricultural District should start with contacting their county planning representative. For our region that would be the Herkimer and Oneida Counties Comprehensive Planning Program (HOCCPP) staff.

Agricultural District reviews are usually conducted every eight years from the anniversary date of district formation. During this eight year review period (section 303-a AML) lands may be added or removed from the district. Recent State Legislation also provides for an annual, open enrollment period (section 303-b AML) by which parcels may be added to an Agricultural District. Currently the open enrollment changes have yet to be certified, which means that while new Ag District maps may be here by the end of the year, the old ones are still the most recent available.

The HOCCPP website has a set of maps you can review by town within each county. Click here to see the maps by the town you're interested in. However, if you want to see each county as a whole, select a map from below. Just keep in mind that these will be changing in the near future to reflect the newest additions to the Agricultural Districts in our region !
Click to Enlarge Southern Herkimer County
Click To Enlarge Oneida County