Office of Agricultural Development

The Schoharie County Office of Agricultural Development works to strengthen and grow the agricultural community of Schoharie County.  This is primarily accomplished by facilitating the coordination of resources among both agricultural producers and the agencies working to grow the agricultural sector. The office’s main focuses include encouraging collaboration and coordination, researching the agricultural needs of the county, pursuing funding sources to meet those needs, and acting in a representative capacity for the agricultural community of Schoharie County within the local government.

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.

Agricultural District 3 Review Notice
2000 Schoharie County Agriculture and Farmland Protection Plan
2017 Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan
Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan Map
Agricultural Economic Development Implementation Roundtable
Agricultural Resources

Office Information:

Contact: Nickolas Kossmann
Location: 276 Main Street – Suite 2, PO Box 396, Schoharie, NY 12157
Phone: (518) 295-8785
Fax: (518) 295-8788

Current Members:

John Radliff, Chair – Farmer
Dan Zeh – Farmer
Cindi Shelley – Farmer
Jerry Lape – Farmer
Karl Westphal – Agricultural Preservation Member
Vern Durie – Agribusiness member
Lisa Thom – County Real Property/ Tax Director
Shane Nickle – County Planning & Community Development Services Director
Claude Coons – Chairman of the County Soil and Water Conservation District Board
Liz Callahan – Local Extension Director
Earl Van Wormer III – County Board of Supervisors

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.