tilled farm field at dusk.
Image by Nicholas A. Tonelli via PxHere

2021 Ag District Sign Up Period for Columbia County Landowners

Most of the land used for agricultural production in Columbia County is in one of the ten agricultural districts. If you believe parcels you own are not included in an agricultural district, you have an opportunity to have your land added to an existing agricultural district. This opportunity is for only 30 days each year. The annual 30-day period for Columbia County is the month of October. Go to Ag District Annual Additions (303-b) for an explanation of the process. A direct link to the application can be found below:

Columbia County Agricultural District 303-b Application Form

If you are applying for inclusion this year, send your application to the Clerk of the County Board of Supervisors. The postal address for the Clerk is 401 State Street, Hudson, NY 12534.

Benefits of Land Being in an Agricultural District

There are numerous benefits for your land to be in an agricultural district. One benefit agricultural districts afford is protecting landowners and farmers against local laws that may unreasonably restrict farm operations within an agricultural district. The Columbia County Agricultural Farmland Protection Board (AFPB) and the NYSDAM work with local municipalities to ensure local laws and regulations are not restrictive to agricultural production.

The Process

At the end of October, all requests for inclusion are referred to the Agricultural Farmland Protection Board (AFPB). The Board will determine if the land to be included consists predominantly of viable agricultural land. Its inclusion would serve the public interest by helping to maintain a viable agricultural industry within the district. The AFPB makes a recommendation to the County Board of Supervisors within 30 days. A public hearing is then scheduled and held for public comment. After the public hearing, the County Board of Supervisors adopts or rejects the inclusion of the land into an existing agricultural district. This action must be taken no later than 120 days after the termination of the annual 30-day period (for Columbia County, this is October). If approved by the County Board of Supervisors, the recommendation is forwarded to the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets (NYSDAM). If approved by NYSDAM, the tax parcels are included in one of the county’s agricultural districts. Tax parcels can only be added and not removed during these 30 days.

The form asks for information that will help the Agricultural Farmland Protection Board be better informed in making a recommendation for agricultural district inclusion to the Board of Supervisors. For more information or to request the form by phone, you may call Patrice Perry, Columbia County Department of Planning at (518) 828-3375 or Steve Hadcock at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Columbia County at (518) 318-115. You may also Email Patrice at patrice.perry@columbiacountyny.com or Steve Hadcock at seh11@cornell.edu.


Stephen Hadcock
CAAHP Representative, Agricultural Entrepreneur and Market Development Educator

Last updated October 12, 2021