New York Agriculture & Markets Law
County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board
1. (a) A county legislative body may establish a county agricultural and farmland protection board which shall consist of eleven members, at least four of whom shall be active farmers. At least one member of such board shall represent agribusiness and one member may represent an organization dedicated to agricultural land preservation. These six members of the board shall reside within the county which the respective board serves. The members of the board shall also include the chairperson of the county soil and water conservation district’s board of directors or an employee of the county soil and water conservation district designated by the chairperson, a member of the county legislative body, a county cooperative extension agent, the county planning director and the county director of real property tax services. The chairperson shall be chosen by majority vote. Such board shall be established in the event no such board exists at the time of receipt by the county legislative body of a petition for the creation or review of an agricultural district pursuant to section three hundred three of this article, or at the time of receipt by the county of a notice of intent filing pursuant to subdivision four of section three hundred five of this article. The members of such board shall be appointed by the chairperson of the county legislative body, who shall solicit nominations from farm membership organizations except for the chairperson of the county soil and water conservation district’s board of directors or his or her designee, the county planning director and director of real property tax services, who shall serve ex officio. The members shall serve without salary, but the county legislative body may entitle each such member to reimbursement for actual and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of official duties.
(b) After the board has been established, the chairperson of the county legislative body shall appoint to it two qualified persons for terms of two years each, two qualified persons for terms of three years each and two qualified persons for a term of four years. Thereafter, the appointment of each member shall be for a term of four years. Appointment of a member of the county legislative body shall be for a term coterminous with the member’s term of office. Appointment of the county planning director and county director of real property tax services shall be coterminous with their tenure in such office. The appointment of the chairperson of the county soil and water conservation district’s board of directors shall be for a term coterminous with his or her designation as chairperson of the county soil and water conservation district’s board of directors. Any member of the board may be reappointed for a succeeding term on such board without limitations as to the number of terms the member may serve.
(c) The county agricultural and farmland protection board shall advise the county legislative body and work with the county planning board in relation to the proposed establishment, modification, continuation or termination of any agricultural district. The board shall render expert advice relating to the desirability of such action, including advice as to the nature of farming and farm resources within any proposed or established area and the relation of farming in such area to the county as a whole. The board may review notice of intent filings pursuant to subdivision four of section three hundred five of this article and make findings and recommendations pursuant to that section as to the effect and reasonableness of proposed actions involving the advance of public funds or acquisitions of farmland in agricultural districts by governmental entities. The board shall also assess and approve county agricultural and farmland protection plans.
(d) A county agricultural and farmland protection board may request the commissioner of agriculture and markets to review any state agency rules and regulations which the board identifies as affecting the agricultural activities within an existing or proposed agricultural district. Upon receipt of any such request, the commissioner of agriculture and markets shall, if the necessary funds are available, submit in writing to the board (i) notice of changes in such rules and regulations which he or she deems necessary, (ii) a copy of correspondence with another agency if such rules and regulations are outside his or her jurisdiction, including such rules and regulations being reviewed, and his or her recommendations for modification, or
(iii) his or her reasons for determining that existing rules and regulations be continued without modification.
(e) The county agricultural and farmland protection board shall notify the commissioner and the commissioner of the department of environmental conservation of any attempts to propose the siting of solid waste management facilities upon farmland within an agricultural district.
2. Upon the request of one or more owners of land used in agricultural production the board may review the land classification for such land established by the department of agriculture and markets, consulting with the district soil and water conservation office, and the county cooperative extension service office. After such review, the board may recommend revisions to the classification of specific land areas based on local soil, land and climatic conditions to the department of agriculture and markets.