Over two-thirds of Onondaga County’s land area is actively farmed land, forests and open space, with over 150,000 acres in farms alone. Our farm landscapes and vistas are one of the most prized assets in the region. The agriculture industry in the County also contributes hundreds of million of dollars to the local economy and creates rural job opportunities.
Onondaga County is engaged in a number of farmland protection activities, including:
Onondaga County Agriculture and Farmland Protection Plan - This plan was developed at the direction of the Onondaga County Agriculture and Farmland Protection Board (AFPB), and approved by the County Legislature in 1997 and endorsed by the NYS Dept. of Agriculture and Markets. It was created to assist in the maintenance of the economic viability of the County's agricultural industry and its supporting land base. It contains agricultural and farmland protection goals and objectives, and proposes a number of recommendations and strategies.
Similarly, a fundamental policy of the County's 2010 Development Guide is the protection of the rural economy, agriculture, and access to natural resources.
Agriculture and Farmland Protection Board (AFPB) - SOCPA serves on and provides staff support to the Board, created by the Onondaga County Legislature to oversee the Farmland Protection Plan, agricultural districts program, state grant program solicitations, and other farmland protection activities.
Agriculture Council – SOCPA serves on and provides staff resources to the Onondaga County Agriculture Council, formed by County Executive Mahoney in 2012 to promote and preserve the local agricultural community.
NYS Agricultural Districts - Agricultural districts provide a combination of state landowner incentives and protections that discourage the conversion of farmland to non-agricultural uses.
Farmland Conservation Easements Programs – Commonly known as the "Purchase of Development Rights" (PDR) program, farmland conservation easements are voluntary legal agreements that restrict the development and subdivision of land, either as a donation or through monetary compensation, with the goal of preserving land suited for farming.
The New York Agricultural Landowner Guide is an excellent source for additional information on State farmland protection programs.