Agriculture & Markets - Agricultural and Farmland Protection Programs - Agricultural protection


Published: 2018-11-02

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§ 325. Agricultural protection. 1. Subject to the availability of
funds, a program is hereby established to finance through state
assistance payments the state share of the costs of locally-led
agricultural and farmland protection activities. State assistance
payments for planning activities shall not exceed fifty thousand dollars
to each county agricultural and farmland protection board or one hundred
thousand dollars to two such boards applying jointly, and shall not
exceed fifty percent of the cost of preparing an agricultural and
farmland protection plan. State assistance payments for planning
activities shall not exceed twenty-five thousand dollars to each
municipality other than a county or fifty thousand dollars to two such
municipalities applying jointly, and shall not exceed seventy-five
percent of the cost of preparing an agricultural and farmland protection
plan. A county which has an approved farmland protection plan may after
one hundred twenty months from the date of such approval by the
commissioner apply for additional state assistance payments for planning
activities related to the updating of their current plan or development
of a new farmland protection plan. Such additional state assistance
payments shall not exceed fifty thousand dollars to each county
agricultural and farmland protection board or one hundred thousand
dollars to two such boards applying jointly, and shall not exceed fifty
percent of the cost of preparing an agricultural and farmland protection
plan. State assistance payments for implementation of approved
agricultural and farmland protection plans may fund up to seventy-five
percent of the cost of implementing the county plan or portion of the
plan for which state assistance payments are requested. State assistance
payments to such counties shall not exceed seventy-five percent of the
cost of implementing the local plan or portion of the plan for which
state assistance has been requested. Such maximum shall be increased by
a percentage equal to the percentage of the total eligible costs for
such specified projects that are contributed by the owner of the
agricultural land for which the project is being funded, provided,
however, that in no event shall the total of such state assistance
payments exceed eighty-seven and one-half percent of such eligible costs
for any specified project.

2. (a) A county agricultural and farmland protection board, two such
boards acting jointly, a municipality or two such municipalities acting
jointly shall make application to the commissioner in such manner as the
commissioner may prescribe. Application for state assistance payments
for planning activities may be made at any time after the county
agricultural and farmland protection board has formed and has elected a
chairperson. A county agricultural and farmland protection board may
make application for state assistance payments for plan implementation
at any time after the commissioner has approved a county agricultural
and farmland protection plan pursuant to section three hundred
twenty-four of this article. Application made jointly by two county
agricultural and farmland protection boards may be made after such
agricultural and farmland protection plan is approved by each county
pursuant to the provisions of section three hundred twenty-four of this
article. State assistance payments to such counties shall not exceed
seventy-five percent of the cost of implementing the county agricultural
and farmland protection plan or portion of the plan for which state
assistance has been requested. The commissioner may require such
information or additional planning as he or she deems necessary to
evaluate such a request for state assistance.

(b) Within a county, a municipality which has in place a local
farmland protection plan may apply and shall be eligible for
agricultural protection state assistance payments to implement its plan,
or a portion of its plan, provided the proposed project is endorsed for
funding by the agricultural and farmland protection board for the county
in which the municipality is located and that any plan developed on or
after January first, two thousand six complies with section three
hundred twenty-four-a of this article. State assistance payments to such
municipalities shall not exceed seventy-five percent of the cost of
implementing the local plan or portion of the plan for which state
assistance has been requested. Such maximum shall be increased by a
percentage equal to the percentage of the total eligible costs for such
specified projects that are contributed by the owner of the agricultural
land for which the project is being funded; provided, however, that in
no event shall the total of such state assistance payments exceed
eighty-seven and one-half percent of such eligible costs for any
specified project. The commissioner may require such information or
additional planning as he or she deems necessary to evaluate such a
request for state assistance.

(c) A soil and water conservation district may apply and shall be
eligible for agricultural protection state assistance payments to
implement a county or municipal agricultural and farmland protection
plan approved by the commissioner provided that the proposed project is
endorsed for funding by the county agricultural and farmland protection
board for the county in which the proposed project is located. A soil
and water conservation district, two such soil and water conservation
districts acting jointly, a soil and water conservation district and a
municipality acting jointly, or a soil and water conservation district
and a not-for-profit conservation organization acting jointly shall make
application to the commissioner in such manner as the commissioner may
prescribe. The proposed project must also be endorsed for funding by the
municipality in which the proposed project is located if the soil and
water conservation district is seeking agricultural protection state
assistance payments to implement an approved municipal agricultural and
farmland protection plan. State assistance payments to such soil and
water conservation districts shall not exceed seventy-five percent of
the cost of implementing the local plan or portion of the plan for which
state assistance has been requested. Such maximum shall be increased by
a percentage equal to the percentage of the total eligible costs for
such specified projects that are contributed by the owner of the
agricultural land for which the project is being funded; provided,
however, that in no event shall the total of such state assistance
payments exceed eighty-seven and one-half percent of such eligible costs
for any specified project. The commissioner may require such information
or additional planning as he or she deems necessary to evaluate such a
request for state assistance.

(d) A not-for-profit conservation organization may apply and shall be
eligible for agricultural protection state assistance payments to
implement a county or municipal agricultural and farmland protection
plan approved by the commissioner provided that the proposed project is
endorsed for funding by the county agricultural and farmland protection
board for the county in which the proposed project is located. The
proposed project must also be endorsed for funding by the municipality
in which the proposed project is located if the not-for-profit
conservation organization is seeking agricultural protection state
assistance payments to implement an approved municipal agricultural and
farmland protection plan. State assistance payments to such
not-for-profit organizations shall not exceed seventy-five percent of
the cost of implementing the local plan or portion of the plan for which
state assistance has been requested. Such maximum shall be increased by
a percentage equal to the percentage of the total eligible costs for
such specified projects that are contributed by the owner of the
agricultural land for which the project is being funded; provided,
however, that in no event shall the total of such state assistance
payments exceed eighty-seven and one-half percent of such eligible costs
for any specified project. The commissioner may require such information
or additional planning as he or she deems necessary to evaluate such a
request for state assistance.

(e) In evaluating applications for funding, the commissioner shall
give priority to projects intended to preserve viable agricultural land
as defined in section three hundred one of this chapter; that are in
areas facing significant development pressure; and that serve as a
buffer for a significant natural public resource containing important
ecosystem or habitat characteristics.

(f) In evaluating applications for funding, the commissioner shall
consider whether future physical climate risk due to sea level rise,
and/or storm surges and/or flooding, based on available data predicting
the likelihood of future extreme weather events, including hazard risk
analysis data if applicable, has been considered.

(g) In evaluating applications for funding, projects for protecting
agricultural land that include farmer-purchaser farmland protection
agreements are eligible for state assistance payments.

3. Upon receipt of a request for state assistance, the commissioner
shall review the request, consult with the advisory council on
agriculture and, within ninety days from the receipt of a complete
application, shall make a determination as to whether or not such
projects shall receive state assistance.