Office of Agricultural Development

The Schoharie County Agriculture and Farmland Protection Board (AFPB) works to enhance the County’s agricultural industry by offering broad representation and increased opportunities for agricultural concerns to be heard in county government. Additionally, Board membership provides opportunities for environmental and open space advocates to have a voice in local agricultural land protection efforts. Members of the board consist of farmers, county legislators, educators, agriculture technicians, veterinarians, and community leaders.

Statewide, County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Boards serve a vital role as part of New York State’s long-standing effort to use voluntary, incentive-based programs to protect farming and farmland.

2000 Schoharie County Agriculture and Farmland Protection Plan
2017 Draft Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan
Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan Map
Agricultural Economic Development Implementation Roundtable
Agricultural Resources

Office Information:

Contact: Vacant
Location: 276 Main Street – Suite 2, PO Box 396, Schoharie, NY 12157
Phone: (518) 295-8792
Fax: (518) 295-8788

Current Members:

Active Farmers:
John Radliff, Chairman
Jerry Lape – Cobleskill
Cindy Shelley – Carlisle

Agribusiness Representative:
Jack Miller – Schoharie

Land Preservation Organization Representative:
Karl Westphal – Schoharie Land Trust

Chairman of the County Soil and Water Conservation District Board (ex officio):
Claude Coons – Fulton

County Board of Supervisors (ex officio):
Earl Van Wormer III, Town of Esperance Supervisor

Local Extension Agent – (ex officio):
David Cox – Agricultural Program Leader

County Planning Director – (ex officio):

County Director of Real Property Tax Services (ex officio):
Lisa Thom

Agricultural Advisors:

Because of their collective expertise, the Boards may review and comment on proposed local comprehensive plans. The AFPB can also help a local government avoid enacting or administering local laws which unreasonably restrict farm operations in agricultural districts and run afoul of the agricultural districts law. Similarly, agricultural data statements, required when approval for subdivision, site plan, special use or use variances are sought within 500 feet of a farm operation in an agricultural district, can be referred to the Boards for review and comment.

The Schoharie County AFPB may provide local “expert” analysis in cases when a farming practice is in question. This informal peer review can head off a request for a formal “sound agricultural practice” opinion. The Boards can also provide local expertise to the Commissioner to assist in a sound agricultural practice determination. In addition, the Board can mediate in disputes.

The Schoharie County AFPB can also serve as a liaison to town and planning Boards and to help educate non-farmers about the economic, social, and environmental benefits that farming and farmland bring to our community.

Agricultural Districts:

Applications for land to be considered for inclusion to a county agricultural district are accepted annually at the Schoharie County Planning and Development Agency from January 30-February 28.

The purpose of agricultural districting is to encourage 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. Included in these benefits are preferential real property tax treatment (agricultural assessment and special benefit assessment), and protections against overly restrictive local laws, government funded acquisition or construction projects, and private nuisance suits involving agricultural practices.

The Landowner Application for Inclusion to an Agricultural District should be returned to Schoharie County Office of Agricultural Development, PO Box 396, Schoharie, NY 12157 during the open enrollment period.