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Dutchess County Hosts 5th Annual Agricultural Forum
Molinaro signs Right-to-Farm legislation into law at Dutchess County Fairgrounds

Published: 8/22/2019

For More Information Contact:

Colleen Pillus, (845) 486-2000

Poughkeepsie … Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro and County Legislature Chairman Gregg Pulver today hosted dozens of local farmers and stakeholders for the County’s 5th annual Agricultural Forum, held at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds in Rhinebeck. In addition to a discussion about issues and policies regarding agriculture and agri-business, County Executive Molinaro signed the County’s Right-to-Farm law, which allows farmers to utilize the agricultural practices necessary to run their business free from undue restrictions and interference.

New York State Senator Sue Serino, Assemblymember Didi Barrett, County legislators Don Sagliano and Pulver, joined members of the County’s Agricultural Advisory Committee, comprised of local farmers, elected officials, agricultural and land conservancy organizations and others, at today’s forum. Attendees discussed the state of agriculture in Dutchess County, and County Executive Molinaro updated those in attendance on the County’s Partnership for Manageable Growth (PMG) program, which, including acreage from pending projects, has protected more than 5,400 acres of farmland and open space since its inception in 1999.

County Executive Molinaro said, “Dutchess County’s agricultural industry remains vital to our way of life, providing much of the food we eat – the market value of products grown in the County is almost $44 million annually. Farmers’ hard-working nature is unparalleled, and that sense of determination is shared by those who continue to make agriculture thrive in Dutchess County today. Our county is ardent in its resolve to ensure farming endures for generations and remains vibrant. We thank our Agricultural Advisory Committee members for their dedication to preserving farming in Dutchess County.”

Guest speaker Carolyn Grossman Meagher, Director of Regional Planning from the NYC Department of City Planning, discussed with attendees New York City’s economic connection to the Hudson Valley and agricultural community, as well as the city’s programs to support access to local food. Darrel Aubertine, Special Assistant for External Affairs from the NYS Comptroller’s Office, discussed the office’s annual report on agriculture, as well as the current state of agriculture in New York State.  

In addition to preserving farmers’ rights, the County’s new Right-to-Farm law provides local parties the ability to file disputes locally with the newly created Right-to-Farm Dispute Resolution Committee. The law, which the Dutchess County Legislature passed at its July meeting by a 22-0 vote, also requires informing prospective residents of property within 500 feet of land enrolled in an agricultural district that farming activities may occur. 

Legislator Pulver, a multi-generational farmer in the Town of Pine Plains, said, “These changes affirm our community’s commitment to agriculture as a critical economic sector and farming as a lasting piece of our cultural heritage. I thank my colleagues in the Legislature for their support of agriculture, and I laud County Executive Molinaro for signing this important piece of legislation that will bring a positive impact to future generations of Dutchess County farmers.”

Created in 1999, the PMG program helps protect important agricultural and open space resources. The program provides a locally funded match for land preservation purchases up to 50 percent of the total project cost. A new round of applications for future PMG projects will be released in September 2019.