Ag district sign-ups start now

GHENT–An amendment to the 1971 Agricultural District’s Law, Article 25AA of the state Department of Agriculture and Markets, provides an opportunity for landowners each year to request their land be added to an existing agricultural district. This opportunity is for only 30 days each year. The annual 30 day period for Columbia County is the month of October. The pdf file of the paperwork is online at

In order to have your land considered for inclusion in one of the 10 agricultural districts in Columbia County, send your request to the Clerk of the County Board of Supervisors, 401 State Street, Hudson, NY 12534.

One of the numerous benefits from having your land in an agricultural district is receiving agricultural value assessments (AVA) on qualified tax parcels. Any landowner can receive AVA on qualified tax parcels, but the process is simpler if the parcels are part of an agricultural district.

Agricultural districts also protect land owners and farmers against local laws that may unreasonably restrict farm operations located within an agricultural district. The Columbia County Agricultural Farmland Protection Board (AFPB) and the state Department of Agriculture and Markets work with local municipalities to make sure local laws and regulations are not restrictive to agricultural production.

At the end of October all requests for inclusion are referred to the Agricultural Farmland Protection Board (AFPB), which will determine if the land to be included consists predominantly of viable agricultural land and its inclusion would serve the public interest by helping to maintain a viable agricultural industry within the district. The AFPB makes a recommendation to the County Board of Supervisors within 30 days. A public hearing is then scheduled and held for public comment. After the hearing, the Board of Supervisors adopts or rejects the inclusion of the land into an existing agricultural district. This action must be taken no later than 120 days after the termination of the annual 30-day period–for Columbia County, this is October. If approved by the Board of Supervisors, the recommendation is forwarded to the state Department of Agriculture and Markets. If that agency also approves, the tax parcels are included in one of the county’s agricultural districts. Tax parcels can only be added and not removed during this period.

Landowners interested in having land included in an agricultural district should send the following information to the clerk of the Board of Supervisors:

*Written request for inclusion

*Tax map identification number(s), relevant portion of the tax map

*Description of the land and its use.

Forms can be obtained from county Department of Planning at 518 828-3375 or from Cornell Cooperative Extension of Columbia County, 518 828-3346. For answers to questions contact Patrice Perry at Columbia County Department of Planning , email , or Steve Hadcock, CCE of Columbia County 518 828-3346 ext. 106, email .

Stephen Hadcock is extension educator at the Columbia County Cornell Cooperative Extension.


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