New land owners can register fo ag district protection

NORWICH – Due to a recent change in county law, new farm property owners and producers with land not part of Chenango’s agriculture district will have a one-month window in February to have their parcels included.

Inside an ag district, farmers are protected from anti-farm laws, complaints and lawsuits that hinder or prevent them from engaging in what are called “sound ag practices.”

Also within a district, farm land is assessed for its agricultural value and not its developmental value on the real property tax rolls, saving New York farmers around $70 million annually, according to state figures.

Prior to the change in law, spearheaded by the county Farm Bureau in 2007, land owners who acquired or expanded new farm operations locally sometimes had to wait eight years before they could file to have properties listed within the ag district.

Now, if it chooses, the county’s Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board can decide to open the books for one month annually. Locally, land owners can file between Feb. 1 and March 1 with the county Planning Board.

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