The Nation's first (1974) purchase of development rights (PDR) program to preserve farmland, the Suffolk County Farmland program has seen 10,500 acres come into the program to date. Land stays in private ownership and the County acquires non-agricultural development rights. These rights are valued as the difference between the full market value of property for its "highest and best use" (full value) minus the value of the agricultural rights (residual value). The owner files property covenants similar to a conservation easement limiting the use of the property to agricultural production.
The department has further information on the program including an historical account, sample deed covenants, local law establishing selection procedures, structure approvals required in future, and maps locating PDR's in Suffolk County. The department also maintains maps and records for the Suffolk County Agricultural District program which affords farms protection under New York State "right-to-farm" laws.
Suffolk County Planning & Environment Division's Publications:
Greenhouse Structures: Guidelines for Structures with County Purchased Development Rights
A guidebook of definitions, rules, and regulations surrounding greenhouses and greenhouse construction on parcels of land with Suffolk County Purchase of Development Rights, November 2008.
Suffolk County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan - 2015
2015 Public Meeting Notice and Agenda
Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan: The Economy of Agriculture
"Standard Application" for Agricultural Development/Special Use Permit
"Standard Application" for Special Use for Special Event Permit
"Minor & Routine Agricultural Practice Application" for Agricultural Development/Special Use Permit
"Minor & Routine Agricultural Practice Application" for Special Use for Special Event Permit
The plan for the protection of agriculture in Suffolk County prepared by the Suffolk County Planning Department and the Suffolk County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board, June 1996.
Suffolk County Purchase of Development Rights Program:
Suffolk County Agricultural Districts Program:
Other Related Farm Links: