Ancram farmland protection plan ready for public hearing

ANCRAM—While Columbia County is just beginning to gather public input to help a committee put together a countywide Farmland Protection Plan over the next 18 months, the Town of Ancram has already completed the final draft of its plan.

A public hearing on the new town Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan (AFPP) is scheduled for Saturday, February 12, 10 a.m. at the Town Hall, 1416 County Route 7.

Following the public hearing, the town’s Agriculture & Farmland Protection Planning Committee may make changes based on the public input received.

The committee will then formally present the plan to the Town Board, which will schedule its own public hearing, make additional changes as it sees fit, complete the State Environmental Quality Review, seek comments from the County Planning Board, the County Farmland Protection Board, the state Department of Ag & Markets, and consider adopting the plan as an addendum to the town’s Comprehensive Plan at its monthly meeting in April.

Ancram is only the second town in the county, along with Chatham, to complete an AFPP. The decision to develop the protection plan arose from the response of town residents to a survey connected with the town’s Comprehensive Plan.

The top four issues identified by 90% or more of the 434 responding residents as important were:

*The protection of groundwater

*The protection of streams, ponds and wetland

*Encouraging agriculture

*Maintaining open space.

All Ancram farmers, committee members are: Art and Sue Bassin, Barry Chase, Larry Lampman, Marnie and Don MacLean, Jim Miller, Jerry Peele, Dennis Sigler and the late Harold Miller. They began work on the AFPP in November 2008, conducted a survey of the town’s commercial farmers in 2009, and published the Ancram Farming Inventory in May 2010.

The AFPP effort was funded by a $25,000 grant from the state Department of Ag & Markets.

The 118-page plan (with a four-page summary) puts forth an analysis of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats facing agriculture in the town and outlines specific goals to be achieved by 2030 to insure that the town’s farms become more profitable and productive and that farmland is preserved for active farm uses.

The complete report is available on the town’s website:

To contact Diane Valden email .

Comments are closed.