You call this a farm?

OVER THE LAST FEW YEARS the state Department of Agriculture and Markets has come to the aid of local farms that have run afoul of town laws. In Kinderhook dogs that protected alpacas got on neighbors’ nerves. A Gallatin doctor needed a wind turbine to power the mill that turns the wool of his sheep into socks. And then there was Stuyvesant’s short-lived fugitive chicken law.
     In each case, the department, known by its shorthand name, Ag and Markets, told the towns their rules didn’t apply to farms. The law allows Ag and Markets to overrule local laws as to way of preventing suburban sensibilities from smothering agricultural practices. And in the past the department has used its authority to good end. But an opinion it rendered last month raises the possibility that Ag and Markets may have abused its broad powers.
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