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Genesee County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan

Genesee County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan

Agriculture

Agriculture and Farmland Protection Plan The farmer would receive property tax abatement (County, Town, & School District) on all agricultural lands, but not farm related, commercial, or residential structures. At the end of the contract term, the parcel will be automatically re-enrolled unless directed otherwise by the landowner. During the term of the option contract, the landowner is encouraged to apply to the state PDR program. Conversely, in order to apply to the state PDR program, a property must be enrolled in the ‘Enhanced Agricultural District Program’. If an easement offer from the state is received, and the landowner agrees to sell, the landowner must discount the sale price equal to the total County payments thus far, not to exceed 25% of the easement value. (The County is required to match 25% of the easement cost for the state PDR Program. The landowner contribution serves as a portion of the county match. If, at any time during the term, a landowner chooses to opt out of the ‘Enhanced Agricultural District Program’, the following options apply: Entire sum paid by the County must be repaid with interest (15%+). Whatever funds are collected in this fashion are then put back into the Farmland Protection Fund. County has right of first refusal on purchase of the land during the term of the option contract, if it is for sale. The County would then place a conservation easement on the property and resell it for it’s agricultural value to be farmed. Whatever funds are collected in this fashion are then put back into the Farmland Protection Fund. The ‘Enhanced Agricultural District Program’ will require the cooperation of all taxing jurisdictions within the County. As well, the State of New York will also be called upon to financially support this program. As envisioned above, participation in this concept would be permissive for the local jurisdictions which would be asked to waive 25% of the tax abatement to the landowner while the State of New York would be asked to compensate the local jurisdiction for the remaining 75% of the tax abatement. An analysis of the ‘Enhanced Agricultural District Program’, conducted by the Genesee County Assessor’s Office, indicates that 40,912 acres would qualify at an expected annual cost of $897,000. Thus, it is expected that the net, annual benefit to farmland owners will be $21 per acre. 8 Prepare to Purchase Development Rights. Genesee County already has the prime ingredients that should be the target of any statewide effort to protect New York’s agricultural land base. In the coming years it needs to make a case for spending state dollars with goals, detailed criteria, a fair, efficient administrative process in place, willing landowners, supportive land use policies, and matching county funds. Of the issues Columbia, MD 37

Genesee County, New York to address when developing a purchase of development rights program or deciding to participate in the state program, the four most important right now for Genesee County are: How much farmland to protect with PDR? When deciding upon an acreage goal, keep in mind that PDR is not the only tool available for stabilizing the land base and it is doubtful there will ever be enough money to buy all the development rights in the farmed areas of the county. Nor is it reasonable to expect that all farmland owners are willing to sell their development rights. The purpose is to permanently protect sufficiently large blocks of the County’s best farmland so that a future is secured for the agricultural industry. Then other unprotected but still viable farms can make decisions based on that. What farmland to protect? This question is answered with the strategic mapping process, the eligibility criteria and the ranking formula. Use the criteria and ranking formula in Appendix I as a starting point. Test it on different quality farms in several locations for ‘common sense’ results and make adjustments as needed. How much to pay for easements? Conduct a number of appraisals on farms that rank high on the formula you are using. Work with appraisers to determine the means of finding both the development value and the agricultural value of typical farms in order to find anticipated easement values. This is then used to estimate the amount of funding you will need to achieve your goal. How to raise purchase funds? The calculations of the cost to protect your acreage goal will probably be daunting. It will underscore the need to begin now to find local dedicated and sufficient funding sources to sustain a long-term effort. It will also clarify the County’s interest in advocating for increased PDR funding at the state level. An estimate of the avoided infrastructure and education costs on that acreage goal, as well as its impact on surrounding land, should help put the costs in perspective for the community. 9 Integrate a farmland protection component into the County’s public education efforts about agriculture. Just as farmland protection shouldn’t be talked about without discussing industry viability, so too, farmland protection needs to be an integral part of the conversation about the business of agriculture. Public education tools need to be developed to reach different audiences. Residential citizens need to understand the fiscal benefits of agricultural land use as well as their own potential contribution to land use conflicts. Town official also need education and reeducation as players change about the fiscal benefits and about the consequences of their decisions upon the fabric of the industry. The Cost of Community Services study for the Town of Byron, which is part of the Agriculture and Farmland Protection Plan, can be a valuable tool for explaining in relatively simple terms, the relationship between land uses (residential, commercial/industrial and agriculture) and public revenues and costs. 38 Agriculture and Community Development Services, Inc.

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    Farmland Protection Plan Agricultur

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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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    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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    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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    Sweetland Road Sumner Road Orleans

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