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Copake adopts Farmland Protection Plan

Jan 21, 2015 12:02 am
Diane Valden reports in The Columbia Paper that Copake adopted a detailed Farmland Protection Plan at its Jan. 8 meeting, as an addendum to the Town’s Comprehensive Plan. A $25,000 grant from the state Department of Agriculture and Markets in December 2012 paid for a local committee to “identify farmlands to be protected; develop strategies and programs to protect farmland and encourage agriculture: build a consensus among town officials, farmers and landowners about how to implement farmland protection strategies and encourage agriculture; and make suggestions, where necessary, to update land use and zoning regulations to become consistent with protecting farmland and encouraging agriculture,” according to its mission statement. Among the group's findings: Copake agricultural products include dairy, beef, hay, horses, a variety of livestock, poultry, fruit, vegetables, corn, grain, wood products, nursery plants, bees, maple syrup, hops, alfalfa, soybeans and seeds; 13 percent of farms are organic; Copake farms and land used in agriculture contribute about $13 million in assessed land value. Add in land that is part of a residential parcel used for agriculture and the contribution grows to about $26 million; 14,054 acres are in the state Agricultural District, 78% or 10,914 acres are in active farming; about 149 farmed parcels are located within the state Agricultural District; 9,199 acres receive an agricultural assessment as part of the New York State program or about 84% of all farmlands; 40 percent of Copake farmers rely on rented land to support their operations. Read the full story in The Columbia Paper.