In 2015, the County Planning Department worked with an Advisory Committee to update the County’s Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan, originally adopted in 1996. The update focuses heavily on economic development strategies for the County’s agricultural sector. After having been approved by a unanimous vote of the County Legislature, the final draft of the Plan was approved by the Commissioner of the New York State (NYS) Department of Agriculture and Markets. The plan was also approved by the County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board and the County Planning Board. The Plan is now formally part of the County’s Comprehensive Plan.
The County's Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan was funded, in part, by a grant from the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets. View their goals related to Agriculture and Farmland Protection Plans. Additional funding was dedicated to the project by the Orange County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board. County Planning hired Community Planning and Environmental Associates, Inc and EM. Pemrick and Company to support the development of the Plan update.
Early in the process, farmers and the public were asked to complete surveys so the County could improve its understanding of agriculture in the County. Nearly 370 Orange County residents filled out the public survey and over 100 farmers filled out the producers survey. View the results of the two surveys:
In addition to the surveys, the County conducted interviews with some of the agricultural sector’s key stakeholders. Local, County, and regional plans, studies, and policies were reviewed for their compatibility with agriculture. All of this information was compiled into an analysis of the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) that relate to local agriculture. The County drafted the goals and prioritized strategies to include in the updated Ag Plan to help agriculture remain viable in Orange County.
The County also held focus group meetings for Orange County farmers, local economic development agencies and organizations, and local land preservation agencies and organizations to help guide farmland preservation, local and regional programming, and economic development efforts within the County. These meetings allowed for open discussions about strategies that have been identified to date for bolstering the agricultural industry.