The Agriculture and Farmland Protection Plan emerged from the 2005 Comprehensive Plan’s recommendation for the development of a Farm and Open Space Protection Plan. The town was successful in applying for a grant from New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets (NYSDAM) in the amount of $25,000 to fund the development of the Protection Plan. The purpose of the study is to work with individuals involved in the town's agricultural industry to establish strategies that will result in the enhancement, management and continued viability of agriculture and farmland areas and lands in the Town of Bethlehem.
Study Advisory Committee
To assist the town in preparing the study, NYSDAM requires that a Study Advisory Committee (SAC) be organized to assist in the planning process. The SAC will be an advisory body that provides advice and recommendations to the study leaders, consisting of Behan Planning Associates and American Farmland Trust. The Department of Economic Development and Planning (DEDP) will provide staff support to the Agriculture and Farmland study.
Term of Appointment
The Agriculture and Farmland SAC will be active for the duration of the planning study, which is estimated to be 12 - 18 months. All members will serve at the pleasure of the Town Board.
The study will commence during the spring of 2008 and it is projected that the study will take approximately 12 to 18 months to complete. There will be approximately one committee meeting per month and there will also be approximately two to four public meetings and workshops held during the study period.
The SAC will be responsible for providing general guidance for the study, and reviewing interim and final work products and reports. It is envisioned that the members of the SAC will provide a sounding board and community perspective on study related issues, potential solutions and alternatives.
Based on Circular 1500 of the New York State Agriculture and Markets Law, Article 25AAA – Agricultural and Farmland Protection Programs:
Document current farming operations and agricultural businesses to result in a status of agriculture and farming activities in Bethlehem.
Identify opportunities/strategies to enhance, manage, and continue the viability of agriculture and farming in the Town.
Analyze the following factors concerning any areas and lands proposed for participation:
Value to Bethlehem’s agricultural economy
Value to Bethlehem’s community character
Level of conversion pressure
Consequences of possible conversion to non agriculture and farming activities