The state legislature enacted Article 25-AA of the Agriculture & Markets Law in 1971 to protect and promote the availability of land for farming purposes. Subsequent amendments have broadened its scope and protections for farmers.
Counties manage the preliminary stages of creation or modification of an Agricultural District. After the County submits a resolution approving or modifying a district, the Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets certifies that a district meets the purpose and intent of the Agricultural District Law.
Adding Land to a District
Farmers interested in adding land or removing land from a locally approved, state certified Agricultural District should contact their county planning representative.
Review of existing Agricultural Districts are conducted every eight years from the anniversary date of district formation. During this eight year review period, parcels may be added or removed from the District.
In periods between these 8-year review processes, new viable agricultural lands may be added to an existing Agricultural District during County-designated annual open enrollment periods.
The Department has adopted a Short Environmental Assessment Form (EAF) intended to be used in actions designated as Unlisted Actions pursuant to the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) which involve an addition or other modification of an agricultural district. As lead agencies for purposes of SEQRA, counties that desire to use this EAF in agricultural districting actions must formally adopt this EAF, after public hearing, pursuant to SEQRA, and ensure that they comply with any other applicable laws and regulations.
Please take a look at the PowerPoint presentation, linked below, that reviews Agricultural Districts. See slides 14-17 for more information related to the new Short Form. You can also watch a recording of the presentation.
As lead agencies for purposes of SEQRA, counties that desire to use this EAF in agricultural districting actions must formally adopt this EAF, after public hearing, pursuant to SEQRA, and ensure that they comply with any other applicable laws and regulations.
The Department partners with the Institute for Resource Information Sciences at Cornell University to actively maintain and update geospatial map data. Cornell's Geospatial Information Repository (CUGIR) provides open and free access to geospatial data and metadata for New York State and federal agencies with special emphasis on natural features relevant to agriculture, ecology, natural resources, and human-environment interactions. Subjects such as landforms and topography, soils, hydrology, environmental hazards, agricultural activities, wildlife, and natural resource management are appropriate for inclusion in the CUGIR catalog.
Visit the CUGIR library to obtain Agricultural District maps.