Agriculture and Farmland

Monroe County’s Agricultural Districts

Article 25AA of the New York State Agriculture and Markets Law, titled Agricultural Districts, provides counties with the opportunity to create agricultural districts for the purpose of protecting and promoting the agriculture industry.  Once created, the law requires that each district must be reviewed on an eight, ten or twelve year basis to see if it is still achieving its intended purpose.  In Monroe County, districts are reviewed every eight years.

In 2003, the State Legislature amended the law enabling the County Legislature to establish a 30-day period once a year to receive petitions from property owners to be added to an existing district; removals from the district must still wait for the eight-year anniversary. 

For additional general information about the Agricultural Districts program, visit the NYS Agriculture and Markets Website

County Agricultural Districts Map (pdf)

Monroe County has two agricultural districts:

Western Agricultural District (#5)
Location: Towns of Chili, Clarkson, Gates, Greece, Hamlin, Ogden, Parma, Riga, Sweden, and Wheatland
Total Acreage: 94,077 acres
Creation Date: 1976
Last Review: 2016
Next Review: 2025* 

2016 Western Agricultural District #5 Report

 

Eastern Agricultural District (#6)
Location: Towns of Henrietta, Mendon, Perinton, Penfield, Pittsford, Rush, and Webster
Total Acreage: 47,673 acres
Creation Date: 1975
Last Review: 2015
Next Review: 2025*

2015 Eastern Agricultural District #6 Report

* Due to the upcoming Countywide Farmland Protection Plan Update in 2023/2024, the 8-year review for Eastern and Western Agricultural Districts will be postponed until the conclusion of the Farmland Protection Plan update in 2023-2025.

Annual Addition Process

The 2022 Monroe County annual Agricultural district addition 30-day open enrollment period is closed. Please check back in January 2023 for the next open enrollment information. 

Please note that property can only be removed from an Agricultural District during the District's eight-year review. The next review for Western Monroe County Agricultural District #5  and Eastern Monroe County Agricultural District #6 will be conducted after the County Farmland Protection Plan Update in 2025. If you have any questions regarding the Agricultural District review, please contact: [email protected]

Annual Enrollment Form 2022  

 If you have any questions regarding this form, please contact Bob King, Monroe Community College Agriculture and Life Sciences Institue, (585) 292-2065, or [email protected].

Farmland Protection Plan Update

In 2021, Monroe County was awarded a $50,000 grant from the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets to update its County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan. Monroe County’s last Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan was adopted over 20 years ago and an updated Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan will be a blueprint that guides decision-making for the County, municipalities, landowners, farmers, farm support agencies and organizations, and business owners for the next couple of decades. The Purpose of the Plan is to ensure that farming continues as a way of life for Monroe County residents and that county residents can enjoy the benefits that come from having valuable, highly productive farmland within Monroe County.  The Plan will focus on updating the County’s 1999 Agriculture and Farmland Protection Plan as well as developing a soil-to-table system approach to agriculture and farmland protection.

Project Timeline:

  • Fall 2021 - Monroe County received the Grant from New York State for the plan update
  • Summer 2022 - Monroe County Legislature accepted the grant
  • Winter 2022/23 - State Executing the Contract
  • Spring 2023 - Solicitating Consultant
  • Summer 2023 - Project Kickoff
  • Fall 2024 - Project Completion
  • Spring 2025 - Plan Adoption

Picture of John Deere tractor.1999 Farmland Protection Plan Executive Summary

The Monroe County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan (1999) (47k PDF) was prepared by the Monroe County Department of Planning and Development and Cornell Cooperative Extension on behalf of the Monroe County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board. It was funded in part by an Agricultural and Farmland Protection Planning grant awarded by the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets, the Rural NY Grant Program administered by the NY Planning Federation with support of the J.M. Kaplan Fund, the Joyce Mertz-Gilmore Foundation, the Botwinick Wolfensohn Foundation, and Monroe County.

The report discusses the need for the plan; the history of agricultural planning in Monroe County; agricultural characteristics and trends in the county; the relationship between municipal planning and agriculture; financial assistance available to farm operations; findings of cost of community services studies; current issues and concerns in agriculture, such as taxes, viability, marketing; and a Land Evaluation and Site Assessment (LESA) analysis.

Chapter 9 of the Plan provides a detailed list of recommendations for various levels of government and agencies in four main subject areas: farmland preservation and protection; economic development/viability/marketing; education; and database maintenance and development.  Dr. Robert King, Director, Agriculture & Life Sciences Institute, Monroe Community College, is responsible for implementing the Farmland Protection Plan.

Monroe County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan (PDF) 

Monroe County Agricultural Data Statement 

According to 305-a.2 of the NYS Ag. Districts law, an agricultural data statement is required to be submitted with “any application for a special use permit, site plan approval, use variance or subdivision approval requiring municipal review and approval by a planning board, zoning board of appeals, town board or village board of trustee… that would occur on property within an agricultural district containing a farm operation or on property with boundaries within 500 feet of a farm operation located in an agricultural district shall include an agricultural data statement.”

Agriculture Data Statement

Picture of New York State farm.Census of Agriculture - Monroe County Agriculture

The USDA Census of Agriculture is taken every five years, in years ending in 2 and 7; the last census was taken in 2017.  The Census of Agriculture provides detailed agricultural statistics for every county, county equivalent and state as well as the nation as a whole.

USDA Census of Agriculture Website

Farmer Veteran Coalition

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Monroe County is seeking support from the agricultural community for veterans who are or want to become farmers.  See  www.farmvetco.org for more information.

Farmer Veteran Coalition Website

 Partners

Agriculture and Life Sciences Institute at Monroe Community College (MCC)

The Agriculture and Life Sciences Institute advocates on issues relating to land use, offers marketing education, and provides academic instruction for existing and future agribusiness professionals, such as farmers, winery operators, and employees of companies involved in renewable energy resources, etc. as well as landowners to apply knowledge to their specific area of interest.

MCC offers training and assistance for municipalities and individuals. Check HERE to learn more.

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Monroe County

Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) puts knowledge to work in pursuit of economic vitality, ecological sustainability, and social well-being. Rooted in every county of the state, they bring local experience and research-based solutions together, helping New York state families and communities thrive in our rapidly changing world.

Please visit CCE of Monroe County to find a wealth of useful, research-based information.

Genesee Land Trust

Genesee Land Trust preserves and protects natural lands and waterways in the greater Rochester region —providing wildlife habitat, locally grown food, and connections to nature — for everyone.

Check on their website HERE to learn about their programs, training opportunities, and upcoming events.

Monroe County Soil & Water Conservation District (MCSWCD)

The MCSWCD is a municipal subdivision that partners with state, local, and federal agencies, as well as watershed groups to educate and assist landowners and municipalities in planning and implementing best management practices that stabilize soil, improve water quality, manage stormwater runoff, preserve open space, and manage fish and wildlife habitat. The District provides technical assistance in the preservation and restoration of streams, wetlands, woodlots, agricultural land, and low-impact development to landowners, farmers, engineers, contractors, developers, and municipalities. 

Learn more about MCSWCD HERE

Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA)

The Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA) is a coalition of seven NOFA state chapters, including Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont. The purpose of NOFA is to advocate for and educate on organic and sustainable agriculture, family-scale farming and homesteading in rural, suburban, and urban areas; agricultural justice; and other related policy issues. 

Check on resources and programs NOFA offers HERE

ROC Food Policy Council

The Rochester Food Policy Council (FPC) is comprised of a diverse group of individuals who will lead efforts to create a healthier and more fair Rochester food system.

Learn about the Council members HERE

Grow Monroe: Buy Local (MCC)

The Grow Monroe program promotes the benefits of buying local and highlights the wide variety of fresh produce and other agricultural products that can be found right here in Monroe County.

Learn more about the program HERE

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