Legislative Press Release
(Pearl River, NY) Assemblymember Ellen Jaffee (D-Suffern) Chair of the Assembly Taskforce on Food, Farm and Nutrition Policy, and the Rockland Farm Alliance today held a community education event on Tuesday June 24 at Bluefield Farm, an organic flower farm in Blauvelt, to announce passage of the Suburban Agriculture bill she sponsored, (A8026 / S6360) An Act to Amend the Agriculture and Markets Law, in Relation to Agricultural Districts, which reduces the current required acreage to form an Agricultural District from 500 to 250 acres. The bill awaits the Governor’s signature.
The legislation was inspired by Rockland farmers who have been trying for years to remove barriers to farming in suburban communities as well as a policy forum Assemblymember Jaffee held in July 2013 to discuss how to protect farmland in suburban areas like Rockland and meet the increasing demand for local food by consumers, restaurants and schools.
Reducing the minimum acreage in creating Agricultural Districts is critical to preserving and restoring farmland and reviving the farming tradition of Rockland, Westchester, Nassau, and Suffolk counties as well as creating additional Agricultural Districts Upstate. A Suburban Agricultural District would also protect farms, as the bill states, from “overly restrictive local laws, government funded acquisition or construction projects, and private nuisance suits involving agricultural practices in the districts.”