SCHENECTADY COUNTY -- Schenectady County's agricultural district has gotten a little bigger.
Eight properties, totaling 211 acres, were added to the district by the county Legislature this week, following an annual review. The properties added include six parcels in Glenville, and one each in Duanesburg and Rotterdam. Most of the newly added lands are being used to grow crops.
"Schenectady County is committed to our local farmers, and we actively encourage them to request inclusion in the agricultural district," said Legislator Holly Vellano, C-Rotterdam, chairwoman of the county's Committee on Environmental Conservation, Renewable Energy and Parks.
The program is voluntary for landowners. The Legislature acted after the landowners sought to participate, and the county's Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board recommended their inclusion.
The district's goal is to encourage the continuation of agriculture in the county. Participating farmers give up the right to use their land for other purposes for a time, in return for tax incentives and legal protections for their operations. The goal is to forestall the conversion of farmland to other uses.
With the additions, the district contains 19,239 acres, or about 15 percent of all the land in the county.
"We are pleased so many of our local farms and growers are taking advantage of this program that helps foster a better agricultural business environment and maintain open space in Schenectady County," Vellano said.