New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets
The following sections of NYS Agicultural Districts Law, Article 25AA contain provisions intended to protect the rights of farmers in agricultural districts to engage in agricultural practices:
Section 305(4) – Limits the exercise of eminent domain and other public acquisitions and the advance of public funds for municipal projects. This section requires the review of an agricultural impact statement by the Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets which details the adverse agricultural impacts of a project and proposed mitigation measures. The commissioner may recommend alternatives that would minimize or avoid the adverse impact of the proposed action after a public comment and review period.
Section 305-A – Requires coordination of local planning and land use decision-making with the agricultural districts program. Town comprehensive plans, zoning laws, and land use plans can affect the viability of farming operations. This section ensures that local laws will not unreasonably restrict or regulate farm operations within an agricultural district unless there is a threat to public health or safety.
Section 308 - Right-to-Farm – The Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets is also authorized to issue opinions regarding whether certain agricultural practices are sound. Any practice that is determined to be sound does not constitute a private nuisance when an action is brought. In a nuisance suit where a farming practice is determined to be sound, this section ensures that the plaintiff will incur any fees and other expenses related to the defense. This section protects farmers from paying costly legal fees to defend their operations against frivolous nuisance actions.
Section 310 - Disclosure – When there is an exchange or sale of real property located within an agricultural district, a disclosure notice must be provided that identifies the property as being within an agricultural district and that farming occurs within the district. The notification informs buyers of the state and local policy of supporting the provisions of the Agricultural Districts Program. This notice is important because it provides prospective non-farm neighbors with critical information about activity in their neighborhood.
Agriculture and Markets law Article 25AA can be viewed in full on the NYS Agriculture and Markets website.