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Farmland plan gets airing May 3

Posted 4/18/17

An updated Oneida County Agriculture and Farmland Protection Plan is available for review. The document outlines a long-term vision for agriculture in the county; identifies strategies to ensure that …

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Farmland plan gets airing May 3

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An updated Oneida County Agriculture and Farmland Protection Plan is available for review.

The document outlines a long-term vision for agriculture in the county; identifies strategies to ensure that agriculture remains a strong contributor to the county’s economy and quality of life for many years into the future; and sets out a a plan for implementation of those strategies.

The 2012 Census of Agriculture attributes sales of $113,189,000 to Oneida County’s diverse agriculture sector. The largest components of the sector are milk, which contributed 53 percent of the 2012 sales value, and commodity feed crops like grains, oilseeds and dry beans, which represented 21 percent.

The 17-year-old 2000 plan was revised based on input from the farm community, Oneida County Executive’s Task Force, Oneida County Farmland Protection Board, agriculture agencies and county representatives.

This plan identifies features and characteristics that make agriculture strong in the county, as well as issues that challenge farms. It also highlights opportunities going forward. 

Agriculture’s strengths: 

  • Experienced, resourceful farming population.
  • Strong local agribusiness infrastructure.
  • Temperate climate and sufficient clean water.
  • Competitive advantage of location near population centers. 
  • Supportive local policies.

Issues:

  • -- High property taxes.
  • Barriers to entry for new farm enterprises.
  • Volatile commodity markets.
  • Insufficient local food processing and distribution infrastructure.
  • Historical lack of emphasis on marketing.
  • Labor supply challenges.
  • Burdensome regulatory environment.
  • Aging farm population.

Opportunities:

  • -- Increasing advantages of climate, water, and proximity to population centers.
  • Growing support for buying local.
  • Development of niche markets and small farm opportunities.
  • Support for craft beverage and value-added enterprises.
  • Interest among the public in agritourism.
  • Growing connections to downstate markets.
  • Farm-to-school and farm-to-institution sales.
  • Marketing to diverse immigrant population.

Action plan summary:

  • Support new farm- and agriculture-related businesses.
  • Connect local farms with local consumers.
  • Bring new individuals into agriculture careers through education initiatives.
  • Increase public awareness and focus local policy on protecting and strengthening agriculture.
  • Protect important farmland resources.

The plan is available for review and public comments. It can be reviewed at www.cceoneida.com/agricultural-economic-development/oneida-county-farmland-protection.

The Oneida County Farmland Protection Board is hosting a public hearing and presentation on the plan May 3 at 6 p.m. at Cornell Cooperative Extension, 121 Second St., Whitestown.

Comments can also be sent to Remi Link by email, rl368@cornell.edu, or by mailing them to Cooperative Extension. Comments are due by May 3 at noon.

The plan has to be adopted by the county Board of Legislators.

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