December 8, 2021

Farmland plan coming

C’ville delays action after talks with state agency

Joe McIntyre/staff photographer

Jeff Jebbett is shown Thursday on his farm on Hatfield Road in Cortlandville. Jebbett grows hay and sells it on the farm, which has been in his family for 101 years.

CORTLANDVILLE — A farmland protection plan in Cortlandville, three years in development, will be complete by the end of June, although action on the plan was delayed following discussion with the state agency funding the effort.

The Town Board tabled action on the plan earlier this week, which also delays a public hearing that had been planned later this month and efforts to move the proposal to the county and town planning boards for review. The project is funded by the state Department of Agriculture and Markets.

“They control the money,” said board member John Proud. He doesn’t expect the delay to push back the anticipated June implementation.

The plan is the result of the Town Board wanting to protect and enhance agriculture in Cortlandville. Funding for the plan comes from a $25,000 state Department of Agriculture and Markets grant from 2015.

Jeff Jebbett, a farmer in Cortlandville who owns 420 acres along Hatfield Road, likes the idea of the protection plan. “I think it’s important,” Jebbett said. “There are not a lot of family farms anymore, it’s mainly big farms.”

Jebbett had sold his cows in 2005. He now grows hay and sells it on the farm, which has been in his family for 101 years.

The plan could help protect farms from being assessed as residential real estate, he said. “It would keep it assessed at farm value.”

Farmland covers almost every part of town except areas along routes 11, 13 and 281 where businesses, developments and residential areas sit. A map of zoning included in the draft of the plan shows most of the farmland, except a few patches of fields along the east end of Kinney Gulf Road, included in the area.

The plan would guide land-use management to protect farmland and support services in the town. Agricultural uses cover about 36 percent of the town’s 10,807 acres among 170 parcels averaging 64 acres each. However, that space has dropped 28 percent since the mid-1970s as farmland has been converted to other uses.

The plan has five goals:

• Teach the community the strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities associated with farming.

• Protect farmlands from abandonment, fragmentation by development and conversion to other uses.

• Create strategies to improve farmland protection through voluntary programs.

• Improve economic development opportunities that support agricultural businesses.

• Establish an agricultural advisory committee to recommend policies.