August 21, 2019
Exciting news! After 10 years of dedicated work by the Rockland County Agriculture and Farmland Protection Board, and steadfast advocacy by Rockland Farm Alliance(RFA), Rockland is very close to having a County-wide Ag District in place. If you are interested in promoting farmland in Rockland County, please consider coming out to support this resolution and to better understand the legislative process.
The Rockland County Environmental Legislative Committee is scheduled to meet and discuss the Ag District on Tuesday, August 27th at 5:00 pm in the Allison-Parris County Office Building located at 11 New Hempstead Road, New City, NY. Once the committee has discussed the resolution, the entire legislature will vote on the proposal sometime in the following month and it will be there where we will need to show more widespread community support.
About the Ag District Resolution: When RFA formed in 2007, the RC Ag Board had disbanded. The main feature of a County Ag Board is to oversee a County Ag District, yet Rockland did not have an Ag District because it was just shy of the 500 acre minimum requirement. To this end, we worked with Harriet Cornell to reinstate the Ag Board and Linda Concklin and RFA president John McDowell were voted in as co-chairs. They worked with State Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee to initiate a NYS bill to lower the minimum acreage of an Ag District from 500 acres to 250. It passed unanimously in both state houses in 2014.
After several years of detailed work from the Rockland Department of Environmental Resources, under the supervision of Allan Beers and with the support of Ed Day, we are now in the process of a County Legislative review of the proposed AG District.
How does an Ag District Benefit Rockland: Ag Districts provide benefits which help keep farming a viable economic activity, thereby maintaining land in active agricultural use. Preserving farmland benefits everyone. Besides its value for the production of food, agricultural land provides many environmental benefits, such as groundwater recharge, open space, and scenic viewsheds. Agriculture also benefits local economies by providing jobs and supporting other businesses. In addition, agricultural land requires less public services than developed land and results in cost savings for local communities.
As the NYS Department of Agriculture & Markets says: "If you don’t have a food security plan you are missing something big."
For more on Ag Districts click here: https://www.agriculture.ny.gov/ap/agservices/Agricultural_Districts_FAQ.pdf
We would love to see you at the committee meeting this Tuesday, August 27th. We hope you will take the time to share this information with your friends and family who might be interested in this issue in preparation for the larger legislative meeting sometime later next month.
Thank you for your support!
Rockland Farm Alliance