Farmer Benefits & Protections – Agricultural District Program
Introduction to the Agricultural District Program
Article 25-AA PDF of the Agriculture and Markets Law authorizes the creation of local agricultural districts through local landowner interest, preliminary county review, county adoption, and subsequent state certification.
As of January 1, 2019, 159 agricultural districts existed statewide, containing approximately 25,673 farms and over 9.08 million acres (about 30 percent of the State’s total land area).
The purpose of agricultural districting is to encourage and promote the continued use of farmland for agricultural production. The Program is based on a combination of landowner incentives and protections, all of which are designed to forestall the conversion of farmland to non-agricultural uses. Benefits that properties in State-certified Agricultural Districts receive are partial real property tax relief (agricultural assessment and special benefit assessments), and protections against overly restrictive local laws, government funded acquisition or construction projects, and private nuisance suits involving agricultural practices.
For additional general information on the Agricultural Districts Program, see the Agricultural Districts Law Summary and New York's Agricultural Districts Frequently Asked Questions.
For more information on the county process including county map data of current Agricultural Districts, local contact information, and the county designated open enrollment process, see Local Agricultural District Contact Information and County Agricultural District Map Data.
The NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets partners with the Institute for Resource Information Sciences (IRIS) at Cornell University to actively maintain and update geospatial map data. Cornell University's Geospatial Information Repository (CUGIR) provides open and free access to geospatial data and metadata for New York State, as well as federal agencies with special emphasis on natural features relevant to agriculture, ecology, natural resources, and human-environment interactions. Subjects such as landforms and topography, soils, hydrology, environmental hazards, agricultural activities, wildlife and natural resource management are appropriate for inclusion in the CUGIR catalog. To access the CUGIR library, and to obtain KML, SHP and/or PDF versions of the Agricultural District maps, visit http://cugir.mannlib.cornell.edu/index.jsp.
Creation, Review & Inclusion of New Land in Agricultural Districts (AML §§303, 303-a, & 303-b)The Division works with landowners and local governments by managing the certification of new districts and the review and recertification of existing districts. State certification confirms that a district meets the purposes and intent of the Agricultural Districts Law and all eligibility criteria described therein.
County Forms & Guidance for Use in the Agricultural District 8-Year Review Process (AML §303-a)
County Forms & Guidance for Use in Inclusion of Viable Agricultural Land (AML §303-b)
Agricultural District Statistics, Reports, and Other Resources