From time to time, farmer and North Fork Legislator Al Krupski will call attention to the image on the Suffolk County seal: an ox. The context surrounding his references typically have to do with highlighting agriculture’s importance in the county’s economy.
As one of just two legislators in the 18-member body who represent the East End, Mr. Krupski’s reminders about the role farming plays in day-to-day life here should not go unnoticed by his western Suffolk counterparts — whose constituents surely enjoy a lot of what the North Fork has to offer. Namely, it has historically been among the top agricultural producers in the state and, for many Long Islanders, that has meant a place to pick pumpkins or taste a glass of local wine.
Happily, when it comes to the importance of agriculture, legislators from the west often recognize and support efforts to maintain the industry and preserve what farmland is left — not only on the East End but elsewhere in Suffolk as well.
So it’s encouraging to see the County Legislature unanimously approve a measure that will make a representative of the agricultural community a permanent fixture on the Suffolk County Planning Commission. Though the commission still bows to local boards when it comes to local issues — a simple supermajority can override any rejection the county planning commission offers — its recommendations still carry plenty of weight. And its 15 members have insight, at least in terms of planning on a broader scale, that local boards sometimes need — and sometimes lack.
A representative from the ag field can likewise provide the occasional insight to some applications from western Suffolk. The county has demonstrated in the past that keeping the agricultural industry alive and well is among its top priorities and this move is the latest testament to that effort.
Photo: Reeve Farm in Aquebogue. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file)