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Genesee County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan

Genesee County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan

Genesee

Genesee County: Agricultural Development Plan suggested that the County negotiate a set rate with a professional agricultural grant writer to perform these services for farmers and agribusinesses. Priority Level 2: Begin program in year 2 or 3. Cost Considerations: Program would use limited in-house resources to negotiate grant writing rates and approximately $500 to advertise services. Responsibility: Cornell Cooperative Extension. Recommendation 6: Provide Individual Counseling Most farmers felt that the industry could benefit from access to qualified business planning and consulting resources. While most of the required private professional resources exist in Genesee, access to a different level of services may benefit those farmers who can not articulate their need for or even afford professional services. Therefore, peer mentors, SCORE, and SBDC counselors should be specifically trained to provide business development services and professional service network access to the agricultural industry. Such a program should be jointly directed by Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) and the IDA. Priority Level 2: Begin program in year 2 or 3. Cost Considerations: This recommendation would require moderate levels of in-house staffing and should be within the current budget. Responsibility: CCE and IDA. PLANNING AND POLICY Ten-Year Objective Genesee County, towns, and incorporated municipalities should coordinate all policy and planning efforts to support the County’s number one industry, agriculture. These efforts should be formally adopted in all relevant County plans. Furthermore, the County recognizes that policies set outside of its boundaries, whether at the regional or state level, can have profound impacts within the County. Therefore, the County should support stronger regional planning efforts. Five-Year Action Plan Recommendation 1: Integrate County Plans, Policies, and Programs Genesee County and numerous towns have recently engaged in or are preparing to engage in planning efforts. It is critical for the success of any county level programs that these policies be integrated or at least compatible in the foremost. This will require that County Planning actively educate and re-educate key policy makers and periodically cross reference planning documents. This policy should extend to economic development programming, infrastructure planning, zoning Copyright©, 2001: Agricultural & Community Development Services, Inc, Columbia, MD 19

Genesee County: Agricultural Development Plan requests, and many other public sector issues. The study team believes that the underlying policy document should be the County’s Smart Growth Plan. Priority Level 1: Immediate action in early program years. Cost Considerations: This recommendation would require moderate levels of inhouse staffing. Responsibility: Primary responsibility rests with the Department of Planning and the Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board. Recommendation 2: Direct Consistent and Supportive Land-Use Policies As Genesee County agriculture continues it current transformation, it will be important for the County and each town to support its growth through land-use policy and planning. The County should actively engage all jurisdictions in this effort. The precedent is currently being developed through Smart Growth planning and the county water plan. This trend should be supported through improved comprehensive planning and policy research investigating such issues as incentive zoning, agricultural production zoning, and amendments to the special exceptions process (use of performance criteria). Priority Level 1: Immediate and ongoing. Cost Considerations: This recommendation would require moderate levels of inhouse staffing and should be within the current budget. Responsibility: Department of Planning and the Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board. Recommendation 3: Advocate for Appropriate Infrastructure Development Farmers in Genesee County are focused on two broad concerns regarding infrastructure development depending on their geography. These concerns are public utilities and traffic patterns. While most growers do not suffer direct and immediate consequences from these, many are concerned that they will become a significant impediment to conducting business operations and expansion. Of primary concern are the impact of improvements on land-value and the ability to access transportation infrastructure. The Department of Planning and the Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board should form an infrastructure study group to review the effects of current and expected improvements on the agricultural industry. Following this analysis, the committee should develop a white paper to assist the County and towns in planning improvements. Priority Level 1: Immediate action in early program years. Cost Considerations: This recommendation would require moderate levels of inhouse staffing. Responsibility: Department of Planning and the Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board. Recommendation 4: Study Funding Mechanisms If the County is to meet the objectives of the Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan, it must find a means to financially support this plan beyond Copyright©, 2001: Agricultural & Community Development Services, Inc, Columbia, MD 20

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