Since 1971, the Agricultural Districts Law, Article 25AA of the Agriculture and Markets Law (AML), has reflected the cornerstone of State and county level efforts to preserve, protect and encourage the development and improvement of agricultural land.
The purpose of agricultural districting is to encourage and promote the continued use of farmland for agricultural production. The Program is designed to forestall the conversion of farmland to non-agricultural uses.
Please note that Agricultural Assessments are done by the city, town, or village wherein the parcel is located, and is entirely independent from Agricultural Districts. Parcels in agricultural districts remain under the jurisdiction of its city, town, or village, and are obligated to follow the municipality's Codes and regulations.
For more information, visit the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets website
Benefits of Agricultural Districts
Agricultural districts provide certain protections to the farming community. These protections are designed with the intention of keeping agricultural lands in agriculture. The benefits are summarized below.
- Limits to Local Regulation – Local governments cannot enact any rules or regulations in agricultural districts that are overly burdensome to agriculture, making it difficult or impossible to continue with agricultural production.
- Limits to Publicly Funded Construction and Eminent Domain Projects – If a governmental agency would like to perform certain construction activities or would like to acquire agricultural lands in an agricultural district, they must first go through a formal review process to determine the impacts on agriculture. A process is in place if unreasonable adverse impacts to agriculture would occur.
- Discouragement of Private Nuisance Lawsuits – Property owners are notified at the time of sale that their property is within an agricultural district. Additionally, the State will determine what is considered a “sound agricultural practice.” Sound agricultural practices cannot be considered a nuisance on lands within an agricultural district or on lands receiving an agricultural assessment.
Is your parcel in an Agricultural District?
To check if your parcel is already in an agricultural district, you may search the Agriculture and Farmland Protection Mapping Inventory.
To check if your parcel is already in an agricultural district, and you applied within the last 2 years, contact firstname.lastname@example.org