October has been designated as Madison County’s open enrollment period during which properties can be added to an existing agricultural district.
The purpose of agricultural districting, according to the Agricultural Protection Unit at New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, is to “encourage 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. Included in these benefits are preferential real property tax treatments e.g. agricultural assessment and special benefit assessment and protections against overly restrictive local laws, government funded acquisition or construction projects, and private nuisance suits involving agricultural practices.
Agricultural Districts play a vital role in protecting agricultural land in Madison County. Farmland accounts for close to 45 percent of Madison County’s entire area.
To enroll in the program, contact Madison County Planning Department at 315-366-2376 and ask for a Survey Form, or stop in at the Planning Department in Wampsville Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to pick up the survey form or print a form from the county website at madisoncounty.ny.gov/358/Agriculture.
Each Survey Form asks for the Tax Parcel ID number and acreage of the property. A description of the land must be included with the request.
All requests for inclusion into an Agricultural District must be postmarked by Tuesday, Oct. 31.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.