Enacted in 1971, New York’s Agricultural Districts Law (ADL) is a very effective tool for maintaining lands in agriculture, and ensuring New York’s position as an outstanding agricultural state. The ADL recognizes that agricultural lands are important and irreplaceable resources, which are in jeopardy of being lost to as a result of increasing costs of agricultural businesses, development pressures and regulatory constraints. Agricultural Districts Law seeks to create economic and regulatory incentives which encourage farmers to continue farming. The ADL has two basic components, agricultural assessments for taxes and agricultural district creation and review.
The first agricultural district was in Sullivan County was established in 1975. The County currently has two agricultural districts, which cover approximately 250,000 acres.
Ag districts consist of viable agricultural lands, or, in other words, lands that are currently used for agriculture or may be used for agriculture in the future. Agricultural districts may include not just farm fields, but also residential, forested and commercial properties that are part of an agricultural enterprise.
Agricultural districts are not permanent, but instead change through time. Every year, from April 1st to April 30th, Sullivan County accepts applications from property owners who would like some or all of their land added to an agricultural district. The districts are also reviewed every eight years to ensure they reflect current land use. At that time land that has been developed, or is in any way no longer viable for agriculture, can be removed from the district.
To learn more about Sullivan County’s agricultural districts and the benefits they provide, please explore the links in the dark green box on the left side of this page.
Agricultural Data Statement
Per § 305-a of the New York State Agriculture and Markets Law, any application for a special use permit, site plan approval, use variance, or subdivision approval requiring municipal review and approval that would occur on property within a New York State Certified Agricultural District containing a farm operation or property with boundaries within 500 feet of a farm operation located in an Agricultural District shall include an Agricultural Data Statement.