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: