Agricultural District Program


ONTARIO COUNTY AGRICULTURAL DISTRICT PROGRAM

In 1971, the state legislature enacted Article 25 AA creating the agricultural district program to “provide a locally-initiated mechanism for the protection and enhancement of New York state's agricultural land as a viable segment of the local and state economies and as an economic and environmental resource of major importance.”  

Ontario County Agricultural District 1 was created in 1972 and comprised 5,300 acres of farmland in the Towns of Bristol and Canandaigua. Over the next twenty years, nine additional agricultural districts were created throughout the county.  The last, Agricultural District 10 in 1982, was comprised of 7,533 acres of  farmland in the Town and Village of Naples.

Over the years, the consolidation of neighboring small districts took place. In 2019 four agricultural districts (1,  6, 8 ad 9) remained totaling approximately 254,124 acres. Over the years, agricultural land ownership patterns have changed. Many landowners owned property throughout the county in different agricultural districts with different renewal dates.

 At the beginning of the eight-year review of Agricultural District 1 in 2020, Ontario County decided to is combine all remaining agricultural districts into “Consolidated Agricultural District 1” to simplify and streamline the process for both landowners and county staff administering the program. 

2021 Consolidated Agricultural District 1 Profile

Acres in DistrictAcres in FarmsNo. of  FarmsAcres owned by farmersAcres rented
256,478184,186833101,30282,884


The  County is required to  complete the  next  review on or before November 11, 2028.

Click HERE for the report. 

Click HERE for the Consolidated Agricultural District 1 map showing the parcels that were added and removed.

If you have questions contact:  

Maria Rudzinski, Senior Planner, Ontario County Planning Department 585-396-4416 or email  maria.rudzinski@ontariocountyny.gov.

ONTARIO COUNTY CONSOLIDATED AGRICULTURAL DISTRICT 1 TOWN MAPS

Below is a link to an agricultural district map for each municipality that has land in the district:

TOWNS 

Bristol
Canadice
Canandaigua
East Bloomfield
Farmington
Geneva
Gorham
Hopewell
Manchester
Naples
Phelps
Richmond
Seneca
South Bristol
Victor
West Bloomfield

VILLAGES
Bloomfield
Clifton Springs
Manchester
Naples
Phelps
Rushville
Shortsville
Victor

CITIES
Geneva
Canandaigua has no land in the District.

How do I add or remove my land from a Agricultural District 1?

  • Annual Agricultural District Enrollment Period  - November 1-30

    Landowners can request that their land be added to an Agricultural District during Ontario County’s annual enrollment period. Click here for additional information and a downloadable application form.
  • Eight-Year Agricultural District Review Process 

    Each Agricultural District must be recertified by New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets on an eight year cycle.  During this period, landowners can request their land be added or removed from an Agricultural District. 
    • Notice of the review process is provided by legal notice.  Ontario County also sends individual notices to all landowners in the District whose land is currently in the District or appears to be in agricultural use by a review of aerial photos or agricultural tax exemption records.
    • For more information on the NYS Review process go  NYS Agricultural District Law Sec. 303.
    • NOTE:  Land can only be removed from the Agricultural District during the eight year review program. The next review will be in 2028

NYS Agricultural District Program Information

The State Legislature enacted the New York Agricultural Districts law, Article 25-AA of the Agriculture & Markets Law PDF, in 1971 to protect and promote the availability of land for farming purposes. Subsequent amendments have broadened its scope and protections for farmer.

The purpose of agricultural districts is to encourage and promote the continued use of farmland for agricultural production. The Program is based on a combination of landowner incentives and protections, all of which are designed to forestall the conversion of farmland to non-agricultural uses. Benefits that properties in State-certified Agricultural Districts receive are partial real property tax relief (agricultural assessment and special benefit assessments), and protections against overly restrictive local laws, government funded acquisition or construction projects, and private nuisance suits involving agricultural practices.

The law provides for a locally initiated mechanism at the county level in the creation, modification and approval of Agricultural Districts. Accordingly, counties manage the preliminary stages of creation or modification of an Agricultural District. Thereafter, the Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets certifies that a district meets the purpose and intent of the Agricultural District Law after the county submits a resolution approving or modifying a district.

For more information click here: NYS Agricultural District Program

NYS DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AND MARKETS GUIDELINE DOCUMENTS

The Department provides a number of guideline documents related  to a wide variety of topics regarding local land use regulation and agricultural operations in an Agricultural District.  They are available through the state website which you can access through the following link:  NY Agricultural District Guideline Documents

Confusion With NYS Agricultural Property Tax Exemption Program


Inclusion in a NYS Agricultural District and obtaining an agricultural property tax exemption from the local assessor are easily confused. A landowner who meets the requirements of the state agricultural property tax exemption program is eligible to receive the exemption whether or not they are in a NYS Agricultural District. The terms and conditions are somewhat different. A landowner file an application with the local assessor for an agricultural exemption by March 1 of every year. .

For information on the  NYS Agricultural Property Tax Exemption Program:

How do I find out if a parcel of land is in a NYS certified Agricultural District?

Check the parcel lists included in the Agricultural District report.

You will need to have the tax map number of the parcel. Note: Tax map numbers change when subdivisions take place.  It is possible that you may not find your parcel number in the list if it changed since the report was prepared.  Check the OnCOR map to make sure.  

Check Ontario County’s Online Resources (OnCOR) .  

You can search for specific parcel information regarding inclusion in an agricultural district with either the tax map number of the parcel, property address or by finding it on the digital map. Link to OnCOR

Once you located your parcel:

  1. Under Layers, make sure "Operational Layers" is checked "on"
  2. Select (check "on") "Environmental Info and then select "Agricultural Districts".  Parcels in the District are shaded.

You can also create a "Parcel Report" which will include information regarding inclusion in a district.

My land is in an Agricultural Zoning District in my town.  Is that the same as being in a certified Agricultural Zoning District?

This is an excellent question. The NYS Agricultural District program is frequently confused with local zoning districts which are created by towns, villages, or cities.   Municipalities regulate how land is used through creation of zoning regulations that are applied to different areas of the locality.  These areas are “zoning districts” and are mapped according to local law. 

Many localities, particularly in rural areas, name zoning districts, Agricultural – 1 or 2.  (A-1, or A-2) and will appear that way on the map. For more information on your zoning laws contact your Municipality .

There is no relationship between a parcel being included in a zoning district or in a NYS-certified Agricultural District unless the local zoning law specifically states that all parcels in a NYS certified Agricultural District are included in a particular zoning district.  

Landowners must request that their land be included or removed from a NYS certified district, whereas, inclusion in a zoning district is done by local elected board action.