New York

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Zoning for Solar Energy: Resource Guide

This document is designed to help New York State localities amend zoning and other land use regulations to permit the development of solar energy systems in their jurisdictions. While it applies to many types of solar energy systems, this resource guide focuses primarily on solar electric or photovoltaic (PV) systems. It begins by describing the local government’s role in land use planning and regulation.

Accelerating Large-Scale Wind and Solar Energy in New York

With an aim of identifying barriers to renewable energy development in New York and developing strategies to reduce those hurdles, The Nature Conservancy (the Conservancy) and the Alliance for Clean Energy New York (ACE NY) convened the Renewables on the Ground Roundtable. The Roundtable brought together 37 individuals representing the wind and solar industries, conservation organizations, and land use planning and local government experts. A number of representatives from New York State agencies also participated as impartial observers and provided expertise.

New York Department of Agriculture & Markets: Guidelines for Agricultural Mitigation for Solar Energy Projects

The following guidelines apply to the construction, restoration, and follow-up monitoring of solar energy projects impacting agricultural land. Depending on the size of the project, the project sponsor should hire an Environmental Monitor to oversee the construction, restoration and follow-up monitoring in agricultural fields. The Environmental Monitor should be on site whenever construction or restoration work is occurring on agricultural land and should coordinate with the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets (Ag.

Understanding Solar Installations in Agricultural Districts

Many of New York's local governments are implementing strategies to review solar installations within their community by updating their comprehensive plan and adopting zoning requirements for the siting, installation, and decommissioning of large-scale solar arrays. To protect productive farmland, municipalities should consider siting the non-farm solar energy projects on less productive land. There is a distinction between farm-related solar systems, and solar systems built on agricultural land that primarily serve off-site uses. 

Land Use Tools for Large Solar Installations on Farmland

This document describes two land-use tools New York State municipalities commonly use to site large-scale solar energy systems in agricultural areas: special use permits and site plan regulations. The purpose is to provide guidance and step-by-step instructions for municipalities to support solar energy development that addresses the short- and long-term needs of farmers while also ensuring their most valuable and productive farmland remains in operation.

Landowner Considerations for Solar Land Leases

New York’s solar market is growing fast, 795 percent since 2011, so demand for sites to install large-scale solar electric systems is high. Across New York State, solar developers are contacting farmers and landowners to secure long-term land leases for siting solar arrays. The amount of land desirable for a lease generally ranges from 10 to 30 acres, depending upon the size of the solar array. Before considering such a lease or contract, you should know installing solar panels on farmland may trigger a “conversion penalty” and may increase the taxable value of the overall property.

Finger Lakes LandLink

The Finger Lakes LandLink is a project of Cornell Cooperative Extension Tompkins County and Groundswell Center for Local Food and Farming. The purpose of LandLink is to facilitate connections between land owners and land seekers in the Finger Lakes region. The LandLink database stores information about land available for lease, loan or sale for beginning and established farmers in the 14 counties comprising the Finger Lakes region. It likewise has a listing of land seekers. Both land owner and land seeker listings are searchable by pertinent agricultural criteria.

Greener Fields: Combating Climate Change by Keeping Land in Farming in New York

New York State has made a strong commitment to fighting climate change, establishing a goal of reducing statewide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 80 percent by 2050. This report has found that keeping land in farming and promoting good stewardship of the land—while encouraging new development in cities, villages and developed areas—offer important ways for New York to reduce GHG emissions, as farmland emits approximately 66 times fewer GHGs per acre than developed land in New York.

Farm Leasing: A Guide for Farmers and Landowners

This guide was produced as an introduction for landowners and farmers to the basics of farmland leasing. Land access is a crucial issue for farmers in the Hudson Valley and surrounding areas, especially those looking to start a new farm, but also for those established farmers hoping to expand their production. Lease arrangements between owners of agricultural land and farmers can have numerous benefits for both the landowner and the farmer.

Gaining Insights, Gaining Access Webinar: Lessons Learned From Senior Farmers Without Successors

On November 23 and 24, 2015, American Farmland Trust and Land For Good hosted two Webinars to discuss the results of our Gaining Insights, Gaining Access project.

This is the second Webinar in a series intended for land conservation organizations, agricultural service providers and policymakers. We hope they will help inform services, programming and policies around farm succession, transfer planning and land access.

Gaining Insights, Gaining Access Webinar: Using New Data To Inform Farm Transfer and Land Access

On November 23 and 24, 2015, American Farmland Trust and Land For Good hosted two Webinars to discuss the results of our Gaining Insights, Gaining Access project.

This is the first Webinar in a series intended for land conservation organizations, agricultural service providers and policymakers. We hope they will help inform services, programming and policies around farm succession, transfer planning and land access. 

Growing Together: Ensuring Healthy Food, Viable Farms, and a Prosperous Buffalo Niagara

Growing Together is the technical report informing the sustainble food access and justice element of One Region Forward, a regional sustainability plan for Erie and Niagara Counties of western New York State. This report supports a larger regional sustainability planning effort. For the first time in the history of the Buffalo-Niagara region, a formal planning process has explicitly addressed the region’s food system. 

Farmland Investors: An Exploration for New England and Beyond

This report presents findings and a discussion of investor interest in farmland, particularly as it is being expressed in New England. While the profile of farmland investment in the region is a far cry from the global land grabbing that is of increasing concern, the larger issues help inform the investigation. This report sets the broader context and explores several domestic farmland investment models and experiments. 

Hudson Valley Farmland Finder

The Hudson Valley Farmland Finder is a resource for farmers and landowners. This website is managed by Partners of the Hudson Valley Farmlink Network and serves 13 counties in the Hudson Valley.  On this website, you can post a profile, search for farmland or a farmer, learn about upcoming events and get in touch with organizations and other resources that can help you with your agricultural plans.

Does the Option at Agricultural Value Protect Farmland for Beginning Farmers? A Policy Analysis

Since the late 1970’s, local and state governments have protected nearly 2.7 million acres of farmland with Purchase of Agricultural Conservation Easement programs. Given market trends and program regulations, the threat of these protected farms being taken out of the agricultural marketplace became a concern for farming advocates and lawmakers.

Farmland Access and Tenure Innovations: Policy and Program Suggestions to Promote Land Access for New England’s Beginning Farmers

Beginning farmers in New England face particularly daunting obstacles to accessing land in a region where cropland and pasture make up less than 5 percent of the land base and the price of farmland in some areas can exceed ten times the national average. It is essential to develop new strategies to make farms and farmland more accessible, affordable and secure for beginning farmers for the region to sustain and grow its farm sector

Profiles of Successful Farm Transfers on Long Island

Many farmers often delay farm transfer to the next generation for a number of reasons. Some farmers believe that a transfer will be complex and limit their options to be actively involved in the farm business. When valuable real estate is involved, some farmers feel that a farm business sale is the only way to resolve retirement planning issues. All farm examples in this publication are located on Long Island, where land values are significantly higher than other locations in the state.

Guide to Farming in New York State

This guide is comprised of a series of individual fact sheets addressing topics pertinent to planning and operating a farm business. It is not enterprise specific. Rather it addresses topics common to operating a farm business in New York State.

The fact sheets are updated annually. Visit Cornell Unviersity's Northeast Beginning Farmers Project Web site below for the most recent version.



In 2005, Farm Credit East initiated a program to support talented, hardworking individuals entering agriculture. FarmStart assists beginning farmers and new cooperatives through their startup years by providing working capital investments of up to $50,000 to get their business off the ground. The investment functions the same as an operating line of credit. It is intended to provide the critical last dollar of funding to overcome the timing mismatch that makes it difficult for true startup farming operations to generate working capital. Repayment of these funds is up to five years.

Westchester Land Trust Farmland Match

Westchester Land Trust’s Farmland Match program maintains a database of farmers who need land with property owners who have land to lease. The program works to ensure that land with agricultural value stays in production, is considered for permanent protection, and that young farmers who might not have the resources to purchase land have the opportunity to farm in Westchester.

Farmer Landowner Match Program

Columbia Land Conservancy and Dutchess Land Conservancy established a partnership expanding the Farmer Landowner Match Program to serve farmers and landowners in both New York counties. The Match Program connects landowners with farmers seeking land. The program also offers Conserve Local Farm (CALF), a program connecting sellers of active farmland with conservation-minded buyers and establishment of conservation agreements to limit non-agricultural development on farmland.

Catskills Farmlink

Catskills Farmlink is a collaborative of regional organizations, agencies and Cornell Cooperative Extension that supports Catskills farmers by offering online “classifieds” about educational programs, equipment and livestock sales, resources and farmland available within the Catskills and New York City watershed.

Westchester County, NY: Agriculture and Farmland Protection Plan

The Farmland Protection Plan is to provide Westchester County, New York, with a blueprint for action to protect the remaining agricultural lands in the County. This includes improving awareness of the needs of agriculture as an industry and of farm land itself as valuable component of the County’s quality of life. It follows the establishment by the County and approval by the State of an Agricultural District in 2001.

St. Lawrence County, NY: Agricultural Development Plan

It is the mission of the Agricultural Development Plan to foster the improvement and advancement of agriculture as an industry, vocation and social institution in St. Lawrence County.

Agriculture contributes to a vibrant economy, maintains open space, protects the environment, enhances the quality of life, and is fundamentally important to the advancement of the county and all of its residents.

Livingston, NY: Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan

The Livingston County, New York, Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board commissioned ACDS, LLC to create an Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan that will foster farmland stewardship and encourage economic growth and enterprise development within Livingston County’s agricultural industry while supporting and enhancing county and local efforts to preserve and protect farmland.

Genesee County, NY: Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan

The Genesee County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan is a compendium of two strategic plans; the Farmland Protection Plan and the Agricultural Development Plan; an analysis of the fiscal impact of specific land-uses in the Town of Byron called the “Town of Byron Cost of Community Services Study”, and maps detailing critical geographic and demographic data. Collectively, these studies address land-use, economic development, planning, policy formation and many other issues.

New England Land Link

New England Land Link (NELL) is a program of the New England Small Farm Institute that helps farmers and landholders locate and transfer farms in New England. NELL offers a web-based listing of farm properties in New England and New York, as well as information about other linking programs and resources regionally and nationally.

Erie County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan

The new Erie County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan creates innovative strategies to guide the County to identify and protect agricultural land with development pressure, support new farms and attract new farmers to Erie County, identify strategies to increase the financial viability of agriculture in the County, connect rural and urban farmers with consumers and new markets, and increase accessibility of healthy, local food for consumers.

The Plan includes:


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