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Genesee County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan

Genesee County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan

Agriculture

Agriculture and Farmland Protection Plan Known as stewardship, the process of holding and maintaining easements is an important consideration to any PDR program or project. Good stewardship will help ensure the perpetual nature of the easement. The municipality or organization holding the easement should set up a system for administering, monitoring and enforcing the easement terms. That involves creating baseline documentation, maintaining a good working relationship with the landowner, monitoring the property, and, if needed, addressing violations. In recognition of this permanent obligation and responsibility, project costs in the New York State Agricultural and Farmland Protection Program can include funding for stewardship expenses as part of the initial transaction for which state assistance payments are sought. Portions of the PDR section were excerpted from the American Farmland Trust publication entitled “Action Guide: Agricultural and Farmland Protection for New York” 1999. Please see original publication for greater detail. Columbia, MD 29

Genesee County, New York INTERVIEW RESULTS WHAT IS THE COMMUNITY THINKING? More than sixty-four members of the agricultural community were interviewed to poll the extent of knowledge of current farmland protection tools as well as to gather opinions about their effectiveness and measure the degree of openness to new or modified approaches to keeping the land base available to the industry. The range of topics covered taxes, zoning, purchase of development rights, agricultural districts, transfer of development rights and how to prioritize farms for protection. A number of themes run through the majority of the interview answers with regard to land use and farmland protection. Almost universally mentioned was the need for better public education about the importance of agriculture to the community and about the practical aspects of farming that often results in conflicts between production agriculture and its residential neighbors. Worries about land fragmentation and beginnings of residential growth pressures in the agricultural districts were on most peoples’ minds. Large-scale threat of farmland conversion seemed to be on the horizon but land base fragmentation was already seen as a problem for operation expansion. For many that translated into the need for better comprehensive planning by the towns, training of town officials in implementation of growth management tools, and controlling access to water and sewer lines. There was a general familiarity with tools such ag districts, purchase of development rights (PDR), zoning, transfer of development rights (TDR), right-to-farm laws, and estate planning. Agricultural districts were considered a fairly weak method of protecting the land base and rightto-farm laws were felt to have little effect on actual land conversion to non-agricultural use. Most of the interviewees indicated that they had transition plans for passing on their farms. Opinions about agricultural zoning seemed related to the size of the operation. Owners of the largest farms tended to be the most receptive to agricultural protective zoning (i.e. low residential density combined with greater flexibility for agricultural uses), mid-sized farms less so, and small farm owners were often opposed to residential restrictions. The idea of a purchase of development rights program generally got a positive response, especially if it was tied to better town planning and to targeting the highest quality resources. When asked what makes a farm a top priority for protection many people pointed out that it is as much the skill of the operator as the prime soils that increases a farm’s chances of remaining a viable operation. The ability to step in and protect a farm at the critical point when it is changing hands was also viewed as a needed tool in the coming years. Connecting some form of additional tax relief with mid-term (15-20 years) farmland protection measures got the nod from most interviewees. 30 Agriculture and Community Development Services, Inc.

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    Table of Contents Introduction 2 Me

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    Methods The methods used to prepare

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    Summary (continued) As Genesee Coun

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    Genesee County Gross Farm Sales Reb

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    Dairy and Cattle Sales Fuel Growth

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    Genesee County Farm Expenses Grow M

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    Farm Income Strength Keeps Farmers

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    Real Farm Real Estate Values Slide

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    Farm Cropland Falls Modestly in Gen

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    Dairy Farm Numbers Plummet. Number

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    Dairy Farm Size Expands in Genesee

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    Traditional Crops - Harvested Acrea

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    Specialty Crops - A Few Crops Domin

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    Specialty Crops - Greenhouse Produc

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    Number of Firms 30 25 20 15 10 Grow

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    Genesee County Farming Sectors’ O

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    Farming Sector Employment for Genes

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    Farm Output Multipliers for Genesee

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    Expenditures by the Vegetable Farm

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    Appendix: IMPLAN Analysis and Resul

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    Genesee County: Agricultural Develo

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    APPENDIX B: Project Contact List Ma

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    APPENDIX C: AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMEN

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    APPENDIX C: AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMEN

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    APPENDIX C: AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMEN

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    APPENDIX D: INDUSTRY PRACTICES Dair

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    APPENDIX D: INDUSTRY PRACTICES •

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    APPENDIX D: INDUSTRY PRACTICES •

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    Genesee County: Town of Byron Cost

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    Genesee County: Town of Byron Cost

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    Genesee County: Town of Byron Cost

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    Genesee County: Town of Byron Cost

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    Genesee County: Town of Byron Cost

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    Fire District 1 46,500.00 41,850.00

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    EMPLOYEES State Retirement 500.00 7

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    Town of Byron Revenues 2000 Revenue

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    APPENDIX C: SWOT ANALYSIS Stable La

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    APPENDIX C: SWOT ANALYSIS Developme

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    APPENDIX C: SWOT ANALYSIS Labor: Th

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    APPENDIX C: SWOT ANALYSIS has also

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    APPENDIX C: SWOT ANALYSIS especiall

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    Sweetland Road Sumner Road Orleans

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    #· W E S Source: Genessee County P

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    Tonawanda Indian Reservation 5.3% A

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    Harlow Road Simonds Road Bethany Ce

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