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Agricultural Districts

The key purpose of Agricultural Districts is to protect and promote land for farming purposes, benefitting farmers and owners of farmland by:

  • Providing the framework to limit unreasonable local regulation of accepted agricultural practices;
  • Providing Right-to-Farm provisions that protect accepted agricultural practices from private nuisance suits;
  • Modifying State agency administrative regulations/procedures to encourage the continuation of agricultural businesses;
  • Modifying the ability to advance public funds to construct facilities that encourage development;
  • Preventing benefit assessments, special ad valorem levies, or other rates/fees on farmland for the finance of improvements such as water, sewer or nonfarm drainage; and
  • Modifying the ability of public agencies to acquire farmland through eminent domain.

The State statute authorizing the creation of county-administered Agricultural Districts is available here.


Every eight years, the Dutchess County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board (AFPB) initiates a full review and certification process for all Districts, which is administered by the Dutchess County Department of Planning & Development, with significant help from Cornell Cooperative Extension Dutchess County and the Dutchess County Soil & Water Conservation District. During this review, parcels are reviewed for not only inclusion in the district but also removal from the district if it is no longer viable agricultural land. 

The AFPB has completed its review and submitted its recommendation to the County Legislature for their review and consideration. The AFPB has recommended the consolidation of Districts 20, 22, and 23 into Agricultural District 21. The proposed Agricultural District 21: would encompass lands in the Towns of Amenia, Beekman, Clinton, Dover, East Fishkill, Fishkill, Hyde Park, LaGrange, Milan, North East, Pawling, Pine Plains, Pleasant Valley, Poughkeepsie, Red Hook, Rhinebeck, Stanford, Union Vale, Wappinger, and Washington; and the Villages of Millbrook, Millerton, Pawling, Red Hook, Rhinebeck, and Tivoli; comprised of 193,990 acres. 

Map of proposed Agricultural District 21 (pdf) 

List of parcels reviewed by the AFPB and their recommendation (pdf) 

30-Day Public Comment Period Notice (pdf) 

Public Hearing Notice (pdf) 

AFPB DRAFT Report to the Dutchess County Legislature (pdf) (coming soon) 

We also have made an interactive Agricultural District Viewer that shows current parcels that are within Dutchess County agricultural districts, as well as proposed changes to those districts based on the 8-year review process.  

For questions about the review process, please leave a message at (845) 605-2075 or email  

The County Legislature established a 30-day public comment period from September 20th through October 20th.   

A map and list of parcels in the proposed Agricultural District 21, will be available for review at the Office of the County Clerk located in the County Office Building, 22 Market Street, Poughkeepsie, New York, for 30 days beginning on September 20, 2023, where it may be examined by interested parties during regular business hours. In addition, they will also be available at the following locations: the office of the Clerk of the Legislature located at 22 Market Street, Poughkeepsie, New York 12601, the offices of Dutchess County Planning & Development located at 85 Civic Center Plaza, Suite 107 Poughkeepsie, NY 12601, the offices of Cornell Cooperative Extension Dutchess County and Dutchess County Soil & Water Conservation District both of which are located at the Dutchess County Farm and Home Center – 2715 Route 44 in Millbrook, NY, and at affected town and village halls (maps and lists will only be for that respective community at Town or Village halls). 

The county Legislature will conduct a public hearing on Tuesday, October 10th at 7:00 P.M., in the Legislative Chambers, County Office Building, 22 Market Street, Poughkeepsie, New York to review and solicit comments from the public with respect to the proposed recommendations from AFPB. However, to make it easier for you to respond and with thousands of parcels involved, it would be very helpful to receive public comments in writing, or by emailing no later than October 20, 2023, which is the end of the public comment period. 

Landowners or municipalities within each District may propose a modification of the proposed district by filing such a proposal with the Clerk of the County Legislature by email at, within 30 days of publication and in no event later than October 20, 2023. 



Currently, these districts contain over 197,481 acres, as shown on this map:

  • District #20 — 42,696 acres
    Towns of Clinton, Hyde Park, Milan, Pleasant Valley, Red Hook, and Rhinebeck
  • District #21 — 97,912 acres
    Towns of Amenia, North East, Pine Plains, Stanford, and Washington
  • District #22 — 18,059 acres
    Towns of East Fishkill, Fishkill, LaGrange, Poughkeepsie, and Wappinger
  • District #23 — 38,815 acres
    Towns of Beekman, Dover, Union Vale, and Pawling

These four districts will be reviewed this year under the 8-Year Certification Process. Every eight years, the Dutchess County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board (AFPB) initiates a full review and certification process for all Districts, which is administered by the Dutchess County Department of Planning and Development, with significant help from Cornell Cooperative Extension Dutchess County and the Dutchess County Soil & Water Conservation District. During this review, parcels are reviewed for not only inclusion in the district but also removal from the district if it is no longer viable agricultural land. To view parcels previously certified as being in an ag. district that are subject to review this year, please visit our Ag. Districts Viewer.

In addition to the parcel-level review, the AFPB will likely be recommending to the County Legislature that the four districts be consolidated into one district.

We are not doing the Annual Inclusion Process, rather we accepted applications between May 1st and May 30th. The AFPB is expected to review applications in August. If you have any questions call 845-605-2075 or email

For more information on Agricultural Districts, view our eNewsletter entitled, Agricultural Districts Law: Both Farmers & Municipalities Play a Role (.pdf), as well as this brochure from NYS entitled Frequently Asked Questions regarding Agricultural Districts (.pdf).  


Please note that Agricultural Districts may be confused with the following:

  • Agricultural Value Assessment Program: The Agricultural Value Assessment Program provides property tax relief for landowners by requiring that eligible farmland is assessed based on actual agricultural production value rather than its full market value. A landowner must still file an application with the local assessor to receive an agricultural value assessment, whether or not the parcel is in a certified Agricultural District. For more information on the Agricultural Value Assessment Program, contact the Dutchess County Real Property Tax Service Agency at 845-486-2140. Additionally, please view this document prepared by the Dutchess County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board entitled, Agricultural Assessment Program and Agricultural District Program: What are the differences? (.pdf)
  • Local Zoning: Local zoning districts are designated by towns, villages, or cities, and may also be named “Agricultural Districts”. Local zoning codes define where agriculture and farming are allowed by the respective municipality, while State-certified agricultural districts provide certain protections to agricultural operations within their bounds. For more information on your local zoning laws, please contact your municipality directly.