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Agricultural Districts

Agricultural Districts provide the framework to limit unreasonable local regulation on farm practices, to limit public agencies’ ability to acquire farmland by eminent domain and to limit the use of public funds to construct facilities that encourage development of farmland. Also, benefit assessments, special ad valorem levies, or other rates and fees for financing of improvements such as water, sewer or non-farm drainage may not be imposed upon land used in agricultural production and within an NYS Certified Agricultural District.


Agricultural District Inclusions for Ulster County

In March, Ulster County generally accepts applications from landowners for inclusion of their property into New York State's Agricultural District Program.

The Ulster County Planning Department will accept applications from March 1, 2017 to March 30, 2017. No applications will be accepted outside this period. Information is available at: http://ulstercountyny.gov/planning/annual-agricultural-district-inclusions.

For more information contact:
Burt Samuelson, Planner
Ulster County Planning Dept.
244 Fair Street - Box 1800
Kingston, NY 12402
(845) 339-2490, Fax: (845) 340-3429
bsam@co.ulster.ny.us


Current Agricultural Districts in Ulster County

Ulster County currently has 4 Ag Districts that include approximately 69,000 acres.

District_#   Towns Total Acres
District 1 ESOPUS, LLOYD, MARLBOROUGH, NEW PALTZ & PLATTEKILL  15,016
District 2 ESOPUS, GARDINER, NEW PALTZ, PLATTEKILL, ROSENDALE, SHAWANGUNK & VILLAGE OF NEW PALTZ  25,730
District 3 HARDENBURGH, MARBLETOWN,ROCHESTER, ROSENDALE, WAWARSING  14,678
District 4 HURLEY, KINGSTON, MARBLETOWN,OLIVE, SAUGERTIES, SHANDAKEN ULSTER & WOODSTOCK    9,665

What Are Agricultural Districts?

The New York State Legislature enacted the Agricultural Districts Law in 1971 to protect and promote the availability of land for farming purposes. The formation of Agricultural Districts is intended to counteract the impact that non-farm development can have upon the continuation of farm businesses.

The Agricultural Districts Law places a mandate on state agencies, local governments, and public benefit corporations to avoid or minimize adverse impacts to farm operations in pursuing projects within an agricultural district which involve either the acquisition of farmland or the advance of public funds for certain construction activities. Division staff conduct detailed reviews of notice documents provided by project sponsors and recommend mitigative action where necessary. Such projects cannot proceed until the notice process is completed.

The Agricultural Districts Law also protects farmers against local laws which unreasonably restrict farm operations located within an agricultural district. Division staff, together with Department legal staff, review both existing and proposed laws to determine if they are compatible with farm operations. In cases where a local law is determined to be unreasonable, staff work with the involved local government to develop mutually accepted modifications. If a local government is unwilling to modify a restrictive law, the Department is authorized to take action to compel compliance with the Agricultural Districts Law. In a landmark decision, the State Court of Appeals ruled that the opinion of the Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets should be given deference in the interpretation and administration of this important right to farm protection.

Requests for review of a local law and its impact on your farm must be provided to the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets in writing and include a completed  Section 305-a Review Form. Questions concerning the review of restrictive local laws can be directed to Bob Somers at 518-457-2713 or at bob.somers@agriculture.ny.gov.

Contact

Teresa Rusinek
Commercial Vegeteable Production Educator, ENYCH
tr28@cornell.edu
845-691-7117 ext.320

Last updated February 7, 2017