Agricultural District Certification

Planning and Development
Eoin Wrafter, Commissioner



Dutchess County's four Agricultural Districts support productive use of agriculturally valuable lands. If your property is farmed, or could be farmed in the future, it may be to your advantage to enroll it in an Agricultural District. Properties can be big or small and do not need to currently be in agricultural production. Parcels in a District are entitled to key protections that support productive farming. Click here for an overview of the program, including detailed information about the benefits that Agricultural Districts provide to landowners and farmers.

During an open enrollment period held every eight years, landowners are invited to enroll their properties in a District. The County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board (AFPB) initiates the review process which is administered by the Department of Planning & Development. Significant project support has been provided by Cornell Cooperative Extension and the Soil and Water Conservation District.

The enrollment period for the 2015-2016 certification ended January 8, 2016. Over 4,000 parcels are recommended for inclusion into newly certified Districts. Our Department compiled a 2015-2016 Agricultural District Review report (report) containing a detailed analysis of farming and farmlands in all four Districts. It also summarizes the latest knowledge about farming throughout the County, including a valuable dataset derived from the District review process itself.

The County Legislature will hold a public hearing to consider approving the list of recommended parcels for certification. The anticipated date of the public hearing is April 11, 2016.

The County Legislature will consider the report, recommended parcel list and maps (contained in the report), and other accompanying materials. The final list, anticipated for approval by the Legislature in mid-April 2016, will be transmitted to the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets for final certification. 

Note regarding “annual inclusion” opportunity: The 2015-2016 certification period has closed, but each year there is an opportunity to add properties to the District. This “annual inclusion” occurs every year between April 15 – May 15. During this period, landowners can request to add their properties to an Agricultural District if it was not included during the eight-year certification process. For more information about the annual inclusion process contact the Dutchess County Soil and Water Conservation District via email or call 845-677-8011 x3.


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