New York

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Planning for Agriculture in New York: A Toolkit for Towns and Counties

American Farmland Trust's new publication, Planning for Agriculture in New York: A Toolkit for Towns and Counties helps communities engage farmers and rural landowners in local planning efforts; assess current town policies and their effectiveness; and understand the range of tools available to help New York towns and counties support local farms. The guide contains case studies demonstrating how towns and counties are successfully planning for agriculture.

Parma, NY: Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan

The Town of Parma created the Farmland and Open Space Protection Committee in 2007. One of the Committee’s first actions was to undertake a resident survey, which was conducted in July 2007. In 2008, the Town of Parma received a $25,000 grant from the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets to prepare an Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan. In 2008, the Town of Parma retained the consulting firm of Stuart I. Brown Associates to assist in the preparation of the Plan.

Junius, NY: Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan

The Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan benefits the Town of Junius.  The  township has been an agricultural community since its founding in 1803. Even though the NYS Thruway has traversed the southern part of the town since its opening in June 1954 and has maintained exits nearby, the town remained rural in nature with little outside pressure to change.  Development and changing traffic patterns allowed travelers to crisscross Junius unimpeded, usually heading for points beyond the Junius borders.

Eden, NY: Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan

The town of Eden’s Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan was funded with a grant from the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets in 2008. Eden has been proactive in supporting its agricultural industry and developed a similar report on the state of agriculture in 1998. Many changes have occurred in the past decade and it has been valuable to reassess current conditions and reevaluate appropriate tools to protect farmland and strengthen the future for agriculture.

Bethlehem, NY: Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan

The Town of Bethlehem’s Comprehensive Plan vision for the future identifies the Town as a community of attractive residential neighborhoods, vibrant hamlets, successful mixed-use commercial centers, modern industrial facilities, and productive rural lands. To encourage the continuance of the Town’s semi-rural setting, this Plan presents several goals and recommendations for the protection of agriculture and farmland. The term protection should be perceived as an opportunity to support agriculture as a business, and on a voluntary basis protect farmland as a land use in the community.

Charlton, NY: Farmland Protection Plan

The Town of Charlton had one of the first municipal Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plans in New York to be adopted or approved.  Charlton's Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan contains the statutorily required elements of a plan but has the unique flavor of the community.  After evaluating existing conditions in the town and compiling input from farmers, local officials and interested residents, a set of strategies was developed to guide the town in supporting agriculture and protecting farmland.  

New York Agricultural Landowner Guide: A Guide to Public Farmland Conservation Programs

Farmers have helped shape the landscape of New York. They have cleared the countryside, plowed fields and maintained woodlands for centuries. Even today, more than seven million acres in New York are used for farming. Nationwide, New York farmers are leading producers of more than 20 fruits, vegetables and dairy products—from apples and sweet corn to maple syrup and milk.

Albany County, NY: Local Food Purchasing Policy Resolution

In 2009, the Albany County Legislature unanimously passed a resolution tasking the Albany County Purchasing Agent to purchase local food products for Albany County Residential Healthcare Facilities and the Albany County Correctional Facility.  The target for food products to be purchased from local sources is to be set with the assistance of the New York State Commissioner of Agriculture.  The Albany County Legislature cited economic, environmental and health concerns as rationale for this policy. 

Testing A Complete-Diet Model for Estimating the Land Resource Requirements of Food Consumption and Agricultural Carrying Capacity: The New York State Example

Agriculture faces a multitude of challenges in the 21st century, and new tools are needed to help determine how it should respond. Among these challenges is a need to reconcile how human food consumption patterns should change to both improve human nutrition and reduce agriculture’s environmental footprint. A complete-diet framework is needed for better understanding how diet influences demand for a fundamental agricultural resource, land. We tested such a model, measuring the impact of fat and meat consumption on the land requirements of food production in New York State (NYS).

A Planners Guide to Community and Regional Food Planning: Transforming Food Environments, Facilitating Healthy Eating

Food nourishes us, enriches our celebrations, and sustains life itself. Yet not everyone in the United States has equal access to healthy food. Some of us live in neighborhoods where grocery stores carry a greater variety of potato chips than vegetables, while some of us cannot afford vegetables even when they are available. This report shows how planners can play a significant role in shaping the food environment of communities and thereby facilitate healthy eating.

Nutrition Incentives at Farmers’ Markets: Bringing Fresh, Healthy, Local Foods Within Reach

Based on visits and interviews, this report profiles pilot programs that match and expand Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP),1 Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children Farmers Market Nutrition Program (WIC FMNP), and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) dollars spent at farmers markets.

Food in the Public Interest: How New York City's Food Policy Holds the Key to Hunger, Health, Jobs and the Environment

Traditionally, food policy has largely been determined by decision-makers in the federal government and private sector. This should not devalue city and state leadership in reducing hunger and increasing the availability of healthy food. Yet, the food system--the continuum of activities ranging from production, processing, distribution, consumption, and disposal --stretches well beyond the jurisdiction of any one official or city agency.

Farmers' Markets Rules, Regulations and Opportunities

The purpose of this study is to examine the structure and operation of farmers’ markets in the United States, giving special attention to the legal and regulatory issues that may shape their operation. By looking at the rules and regulations markets use and by considering issues markets experience, it is possible to identify the most important challenges vendors and managers of markets may face. It is also possible to make some common sense suggestions on how markets can best address and resolve issues while maintaining their friendly and relatively informal nature.

Regionalist Approaches to Farm and Food Systems Policy: A Focus on the Northeast

This paper explores why agriculture and food system policy needs to pay more attention to regions. Regionalism, which urges a move from sector-based to place-based policymaking, has emerged as a powerful principle in public policy. Applied to agriculture and food policy, it acknowledges the regional diversity of the U.S. farm and food system and enables important differences between regions to be articulated and addressed more explicitly in the policy making

Farm Viability in Urbanizing Areas: Case Study on Orange County, New York

Many important agricultural counties in the United States are urbanizing; and the long-term viability of farming there is in doubt despite considerable public policy efforts to retain the financial, employment, consumer, and other benefits of local farming enterprises. Focusing on 15 metro-area counties in 14 states, the study's purpose was to identify conditions under which farming may remain viable as important agricultural counties transition to become mostly urban and suburban in land use.

Is There Evidence of a Critical Mass in the Mid-Atlantic Agriculture Sector Between 1949 and 1997?

Ongoing farmland loss has led county planners to ask “is there a critical mass of farmland needed?” to retain a viable agricultural sector. This study examines whether counties lost farmland at a faster rate if the number of agricultural acres fell below a critical threshold. Results from six Mid Atlantic states over the period 1949 to 1997 indicate that counties with fewer agricultural acres lost farmland at a faster rate.

Is There a Critical Mass of Agricultural Land Needed to Sustain an Agricultural Economy? Evidence from Six Mid-Atlantic States

The critical mass concept is based on the idea that a certain amount of agricultural activity must be sustained in order for the agricultural economy in an area to remain viable. As production levels decline below a given threshold, costs will rise, and support businesses will close or relocate. If the input and output firms exit the region, the closest input supplier may not only be farther away for a farmer but may also charge higher prices for inputs, veterinarian services, and equipment repairs.

Estimating the Fiscal Impact of Alternative Futures for the Capital Region

The future of development in the Capital Region will be determined by decisions made today regarding its public infrastructure investments, land use planning, and regional cooperation. Other communities have successfully integrated capital planning for critical infrastructure (transportation, water, and sewer) with land use planning, making these regions more economically competitive; improving the quality of life; saving scarce public money; and preserving cherished natural assets.

Picking Up the Pace: A Road Map for Accelerating Farmland Protection in New York

New York’s farmers and communities are ready for state government to take a fresh look at the way it approaches farmland protection. Farmers and the state’s $3.6 billion agricultural industry face increased competition for productive land from poorly planned development. Meanwhile, local governments on Long Island, the Hudson Valley and a growing number of areas in Upstate New York are challenged by the task of managing sprawling development while maintaining their quality of life and community character.

Madison County, NY: Agriculture and Farmland Protection Plan

Agriculture has been the mainstay of the economy of Madison County for the past 200 years. Today, both agriculture and its cultural landscape is threatened by the loss of farms, the loss of important agricultural soils, and the loss of important open space. Recognizing these changes, the Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board has developed an Agricultural Protection Plan to address the changes that are taking place in our agricultural economy.


Wyoming County, NY: Agricultural Development and Farmland Protection Plan (2005)

Agriculture is a critical component of Wyoming County's economy and communities. Farms in Wyoming County annually sell almost $180 million of farm products and help grow other local businesses. Wyoming County farms are rural manufacturers exporting their goods outside the county that return dollars to support other local businesses. The county is the nation's 21st largest producer of dairy products and by far the largest dairy producing county in New York.

Orange County, NY: Agricultural Economic Development Strategy (2004)

In 2004, the Orange County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board updated and expanded its 1996 Agriculture and Farmland Protection Plan.  The updated plan focused more closely on options for economic development in agriculture while still protecting farmland.  As Orange County agriculture has transitioned from predominantly commodity based agriculture to new opportunities in direct marketing and agritourism, it was important to address the changing needs of the industry. 

Albany County, NY: Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan (2004)

The Albany County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board, with assistance from the Albany County Office of Natural Resources and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Albany County, developed this plan to detail ways to support farming and enhance agriculture in the County. The plan was funded through a matching grant, awarded to Albany County, from the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets. 

Putnam County, NY: Agriculture and Farmland Protection Plan (Excerpt)

To augment existing local agricultural protection and enhancement efforts, the Putnam County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board initiated a planning process in 2003 to develop an agricultural plan for Putnam County. This excerpt from "An Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan For Putnam County: Agricultural Opportunities and Challenges in Putnam County" discusses developing a priority ranking system for lands to be protected.

Ulysses, NY: Proposed Zoning Code (Excerpt)

The purpose of the town of Ulysses' A1 agricultural district is to protect agricultural resources and promote the operational viability of agricultural enterprises.  The code defines "agricultural commerce" and includes it as a permitted use in A1 agricultural district.  Businesses engaged in agricultural commerce are permitted in this district subject to site plan approval but do not require a special use permit. 

Broome County, NY: Agricultural Economic Development Plan (Excerpt)

Farming is much more than a starting point on the development scale. It represents a fundamental economic opportunity that also pays dividends in cultural, environmental and social gains for Broome County. This excerpt from Broome County's Agricultural Economic Development Plan includes the top 10 reasons for why agriculture is important to the county.

The Rural Design Workbook: Rethinking Conventional Development

This workbook is an easy-to-use collection of real-life development designs and recommended land use language for use by municipal planning boards as they review subdivision and site plan proposals. It has been developed by the Southern Tier Central Regional Planning and Development Board in conjunction with classes in Cornell University’s Landscape Architecture program, and emphasizes design which promotes environmental health and conservation, preserves the rural character, and provides financial benefits or alternatives.

Putnam County, NY: Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan

Agriculture in Putnam County is a diverse, multimillion dollar industry and a crucial land use that strengthens our local food supply, economic vitality, quality of life, community character, picturesque landscape, environment, and recreational opportunities. Top agricultural and farming activities in the County include equine and livestock operations, greenhouses, nurseries, orchards, maple syrup, hay and corn production.  These lands are under intense pressure and at great risk of being converted to nonagricultural development.

Cost of Community Service Study: Town of Rochester, New York

This study determines the net fiscal contribution of different land uses in the town of Rochester, New York. The results of the analysis show that for each dollar of revenue received from residential property, the town provides $1.27 in services; for each dollar generated by local businesses, the town spends $0.18; and for every dollar received from farms, forests and open space, the town again spends $0.18 to provide services. These results are in line with similar fiscal analyses of small towns in the Northeast.


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