The key purpose of Agricultural Districts is to protect and promote land for farming purposes, benefitting farmers and owners of farmland by:
The State statute authorizing the creation of county-administered Agricultural Districts is available here.
Currently, these districts contain over 197,000 acres, as shown on this map of agricultural districts in Dutchess County (2017) (.pdf):
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).
Every year, from April 15th through May 14th, the Dutchess County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board (AFPB) accepts applications from landowners who wish to enroll their parcel(s) into one of Dutchess County’s four Agricultural Districts (i.e. 20, 21, 22, and 23). Following this application period, the AFPB reviews the submitted parcels and makes recommendations to the County Legislature for the inclusion of agriculturally viable properties that serve the public interest by assisting in maintaining a viable agricultural industry within the district.
Note: Landowners whose parcels are already included in an Agricultural District are not required to apply as part of the annual inclusion process.
Every eight years, the 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. The most recent 8-year certification process (2015-2016) resulted in a recommendation to include 4,315 parcels into newly certified Districts to the County Legislature; more details are available in the 2015-2016 Agricultural District Review report (.pdf).
Please note that Agricultural Districts may be confused with the following: