Agricultural District Program



JULY 1 - AUGUST 15, 2020

Currently, Ontario County has four state-certified Agricultural Districts: 1, 6, 8, and 9. The eight-year review and recertification of Agricultural District 1 which is required by NYS Agriculture and Markets Law Article - 25 AA Sec. 303-a. (Law) is taking place this year. During the review process landowners are given the opportunity to add or remove land from an agricultural district. (Additional information about the program follows this notice.)

Over the years, ownership patterns have changed. Many landowners now own property in different agricultural districts with different renewal dates making things complicated. To simplify and streamline the process, Ontario County is combining all agricultural districts into “Consolidated Agricultural District 1” which is allowed under Sec. 303-c. of the Law when a district is under review.  

How does consolidation impact landowners currently in any Ontario County Agricultural District?   

Landowners can only remove a parcel during the eight-year district review. When districts are consolidated, all landowners have the opportunity to remove land from the Agricultural District regardless of which district they are currently in. The next opportunity to remove land will be in 2028.

The Clerk of the Ontario County Board of Supervisors has mailed agricultural landowners in any of the four districts that includes a form that lists the landowner’s parcel(s) and a check box to request removal of a parcel(s) which must be signed by the owner and returned to the Clerk postmarked no later than August 15, 2020.

How do I remove land if I didn’t receive a form or misplaced it?

If you did not receive a mailing from the Clerk but have land which is currently in an Ontario County Agricultural District you can download this fillable PDF form to request that your land be removed: Request to Remove Land Form

How do I add land to Ontario County Consolidated Agricultural District 1?

The Clerk of the Ontario County Board of Supervisors has mailed a form to agricultural landowners who receive the agricultural assessment but are not in an Agricultural District. If you did not receive the form or if you want to add your land to the Agricultural District you can download a fillable PDF form: Request to Add Land Form  

Return forms postmarked no later than August 15, 2020 to:

Kristin Mueller, Clerk of the Board of Supervisors, Municipal Building, 20 Ontario St. Canandaigua, NY 14424.

If you have questions contact:  

Maria Rudzinski, Senior Planner, Ontario County Planning Department 585-396-4416 or Email Maria.

For information on the  NYS Agricultural Property Tax Exemption Program:

NYS Agricultural District Program Information

The State Legislature enacted the New York Agricultural Districts law, Article 25-AA of the Agriculture & Markets Law PDF, in 1971 to protect and promote the availability of land for farming purposes. Subsequent amendments have broadened its scope and protections for farmer.

The purpose of agricultural districts is to encourage and promote the continued use of farmland for agricultural production. The Program is based on a combination of landowner incentives and protections, all of which are designed to forestall the conversion of farmland to non-agricultural uses. Benefits that properties in State-certified Agricultural Districts receive are partial real property tax relief (agricultural assessment and special benefit assessments), and protections against overly restrictive local laws, government funded acquisition or construction projects, and private nuisance suits involving agricultural practices.

The law provides for a locally initiated mechanism at the county level in the creation, modification and approval of Agricultural Districts. Accordingly, counties manage the preliminary stages of creation or modification of an Agricultural District. Thereafter, the Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets certifies that a district meets the purpose and intent of the Agricultural District Law after the county submits a resolution approving or modifying a district.

For a brochure on the program:  New York’s  Agricultural Districts Frequently Asked Questions.

OC Ag District Map 2017jpg_Page1

Confusion with:
 NYS Agricultural Property Tax Exemption Program

 Inclusion in an NYS Agricultural District and obtaining an agricultural property tax exemption from the local assessor are easily confused. A landowner must still file an application with the local assessor for an agricultural exemption whether or not a parcel is in a certified Agricultural District. For information about the NYS agricultural property tax exemption program click here or contact your local assessor who is responsible for this program.

How do I find out if a parcel of land is in a NYS certified Agricultural District?

  1. Check the parcel lists included in the Agricultural District report.

    You will need to have the tax map number of the parcel. Note: Tax map numbers change when subdivisions take place.  It is possible that you may not find your parcel number in the list if it changed since the report was prepared.  Check the OnCOR map to make sure.  
  2. Check Ontario County’s Online Resources (OnCOR) .  

    You can search for specific parcel information regarding inclusion in an agricultural district with either the tax map number of the parcel, property address or by finding it on the digital map. Link to OnCOR

Once you located your parcel:

  1. Under Layers, make sure "Operational Layers" is checked "on"
  2. Select (check "on") "Environmental Info and then select "Agricultural Districts".  Parcels in the District are shaded.

You can also create a "Parcel Report" which will include information regarding inclusion in a district.

My land is in an Agricultural Zoning District in my town.  Is that the same as being in a certified Agricultural Zoning District?

This is an excellent question. The NYS Agricultural District program is frequently confused with local zoning districts which are created by towns, villages, or cities.   Municipalities regulate how land is used through creation of zoning regulations that are applied to different areas of the locality.  These areas are “zoning districts” and are mapped according to local law. 

Many localities, particularly in rural areas, name zoning districts, Agricultural – 1 or 2.  (A-1, or A-2) and will appear that way on the map. For more information on your zoning laws contact your Municipality .

There is no relationship between a parcel being included in a zoning district or in a NYS-certified Agricultural District unless the local zoning law specifically states that all parcels in a NYS certified Agricultural District are included in a particular zoning district.  

Landowners must request that their land be included or removed from a NYS certified district, whereas, inclusion in a zoning district is done by local elected board action.

How do I add or remove my land from a NYS-Certified Agricultural District?

  • Annual Agricultural District Enrollment Period

    Landowners can request that their land be added to an Agricultural District during Ontario County’s annual enrollment  period.  Land cannot be removed during this period. For 2020 only, the annual enrollment period is July 1 - August 15, 2020. For more information go to: Annual Enrollment
  • Eight-Year Agricultural District Review Process 

    Each Agricultural District must be recertified by New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets on an eight year cycle.  During this period, landowners can request their land be added or removed from an Agricultural District. 
    • Notice of the review process is provided by legal notice.  Ontario County also sends individual notices to all landowners in the District whose land is currently in the District or appears to be in agricultural use by a review of aerial photos or agricultural tax exemption records.
    • For more information on the NYS Review process go  NYS Agricultural District Law Sec. 303.
    • NOTE:  Land can only be removed from the Agricultural District during the eight year review program.