NORWICH – A public hearing to establish Chenango County’s third and final agricultural district has been scheduled for residents of that district to weigh-in.
A resolution calling a public hearing on the eight-year review of agricultural district No. 3 was adopted by the Chenango County Board of Supervisors earlier this month, meaning the county is close to the end of a multi-year effort to redistrict agricultural land in all four corners of the county.
The purpose of an ag district is to protect farmers from nearby homeowners who might have grievances about routine farm operations, such as smells, sounds and manure on the roads.
In 2012, the county’s Department of Planning and Development undertook an effort to combine Chenango’s six existing agricultural districts into just three districts. With that effort nearly complete, more farmers are protected when it comes to running their operation, said County Planner Shane Butler.
“If you’re in an ag district and you come up with a problem with a neighbor regarding sounds, smells, or similar kinds of things, the Department of Ag and Markets will fight on behalf of that ag operation as long as they're doing sound agricultural practices,” explained Butler. “It’s like a protection measure for farmers.”
Chenango’s third agricultural district consists of areas mainly in the northeastern portion of the county, encompassing the towns of Columbus, New Berlin, North Norwich, Preston, Plymouth, Sherburne and Smyrna, as well as the villages of Earlville, New Berlin and Smyrna.