Dutchess County has seen significant changes in its agricultural economy since the adoption of the last Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan in 1998. At that time, the conversion of farmland into non-farm uses due to development pressures and the lack of profitable farm operations were top concerns. Sixteen years later, farmland loss has slowed and the agricultural economy has rebounded to a significant degree. There are now excellent prospects for a continuing and vital agricultural industry in Dutchess County based on new markets, growing interest in local agricultural products, and opportunities for continued land preservation for the next generation of farmers.
The Plan features a detailed exploration of the agricultural industry's strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and constraints, as well as a data-rich description of actual conditions. It also proposes five core initiatives to support the growth of the County's agricultural economy:
Initiative 1: Coordination and Collaboration through an Agricultural Navigator and Agricultural Advisory Committee
Initiative 2: Agricultural Economic Development and Business Retention & Expansion Program
Initiative 3: Farmland Preservation
Initiative 4: Farm Friendly Regulation
Initiative 5: Marketing, Public Relations, and Awareness