Skip to search box Skip to main content

Click the links below for information from Suffolk County on the current pandemic

Text Only Version

Farmland Preservation

Suffolk County’s Farmland Development Rights program began in 1974 and is the oldest purchase of development rights (PDR) program in the nation. The Suffolk County PDR program continues to be a model for PDR programs across the nation. The farmland PDR program serves many vital functions but most importantly, it ensures that rich, viable agricultural soils and farmland properties within Suffolk County will be preserved permanently for farming use. Suffolk County has successfully protected approximately 11,000 acres of farmland since the program’s inception and over 20,000 acres have been preserved County-wide through a variety of County, Town, and Non-Profit farmland preservation efforts. A map of all Suffolk County preserved land can be found here.

The Department of Economic Development & Planning also administers New York State’s Agricultural Districts Law (ADL) which creates economic and regulatory incentives to aid new and existing farmers. 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.

Suffolk County Farmland PDR Parcels Viewer

For the full-page map, click here.

Need help? Click here to watch a video on How to Extract a List of PDR Parcels From the Suffolk PDF Web App

Suffolk County Purchase of Development Rights Program:

The statute that governs Suffolk County’s Purchase of Development Rights program is known as Chapter 8, in Part III of the Administrative Local Laws of the Laws of Suffolk County. When a farmer agrees to sell the development rights to his/her land to Suffolk County, the farmer retains ownership of the land, but the use of that land is restricted to agricultural uses only. A Suffolk County Farmland Committee was created under Chapter 8, and its most important role is to determine which Suffolk PDR program applications should be recommended to the Suffolk County Legislature for purchase. This evaluation is based on several criteria, including the parcel’s soil quality, farmland contiguity, potential to preserve scenic vistas, the value of the property, and development pressures within the community-at-large. If you are interested in selling the development rights to your farm to Suffolk County, you can find a link to a “sample deed covenant” here. An application to sell your development rights to the County can be found here. Please refer to Chapter 8 to determine if selling the development rights to your farm is appropriate for your operation and business model. You can also contact August Ruckdeschel Farmlands and Open Space Coordinator at 631-853-4714 if you have any additional questions.

Suffolk County Farmland Committee

The Suffolk County Farmland Committee meets to approve agricultural development and special event permits on preserved Suffolk County farmland and to make recommendations for farmland preservation acquisitions to the Suffolk County legislature. The Committee consists of 20 members, nine appointed by the Suffolk County Executive and ten designated by the ten Suffolk County towns, with a designee appointed by each Town Board, and one County legislator.

Suffolk County Agricultural District Program

Enacted in 1971, New York’s Agricultural Districts Law (ADL) creates economic and regulatory incentives to aid new and existing farmers. 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 protections against overly restrictive local laws, government funded acquisition or construction projects, and private nuisance suits involving agricultural practices. You can click on an explanation of ADL benefits here.

Enrollment in the Agricultural Districts Program can help the farm owner receive property tax assessments based on the value of the land for agricultural production, rather than its development value. These assessments can save Suffolk County farmers a substantial amount of money. Furthermore, it helps ensure that farming in Suffolk County will remain a viable and economically sustainable occupation despite developmental pressures and rising property values.

Suffolk County Agricultural District Parcels Viewer

For the full-page map, click here.

Benefits of Inclusion in an Agricultural District

Suffolk County Government

H. Lee Dennison Bldg

100 Veterans Memorial Hwy
P.O. Box 6100
Hauppauge, NY 11788

Riverhead County Center

County Road 51
Riverhead, NY 11901