04/15/18 5:58am
04/15/2018 5:58 AM

Suffolk County’s visionary farmland preservation program has just achieved a triumph. The state’s Appellate Division last month rejected a ruling by a state Supreme Court justice in 2016 that hamstrung the program. Conceived by County Executive John Klein, the program, begun in 1974, is based on the brilliant and then novel idea of purchasing development rights. Farmers are paid the difference between the value of their land in agriculture and what they could get for it if they sold it to a developer. In return, the land is kept in agriculture in perpetuity. READ

03/07/15 3:00pm
03/07/2015 3:00 PM

Is there a North Fork homeowner who doesn’t despair about the destruction of their plants, shrubs or trees caused by deer, which are now eating what they once rejected?

For us farmers, deer damage isn’t just a nuisance; it is having a serious impact on our livelihoods.

Deer cause considerable crop damage to our farms by: 1). browsing, 2). destroying plants, and 3). contamination.  (more…)

07/30/14 4:00pm
07/30/2014 4:00 PM
(Credit: BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO) | County Executive Steve Bellone has proposed changes to the county's farmland preservation bill that would include more agritourism uses on preserved parcels. Pictured is Reeves Farm on Main Road in Aquebogue.

Farmland on the North Fork hasn’t seen an increase an value like the South Fork. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file).

The increase in the value of North Fork farmland pales in comparison to the rise in value of South Fork farmland over the past decade, according to a market study released by Farm Credit East, a local agricultural lender.  (more…)

05/12/14 3:00pm
05/12/2014 3:00 PM
Cutchogue farmer Tom Wickham points to preserved land near his farm at a press conference Monday afternoon. Mr. Wickham said federal funds would allow farmers to upgrade to better practices cheaper. (Credit: Paul Squire)

Cutchogue farmer Tom Wickham points to preserved land near his farm at a press conference Monday afternoon. Mr. Wickham said federal funds would allow farmers to cheaply upgrade to the industry’s best practices. (Credit: Paul Squire)

Turn the Peconic Estuary and Long Island Sound into a “critical conservation” area and free up federal funds for local farmers to protect water quality?

It’s a “no-brainer,” North Fork politicians say. (more…)

01/16/14 1:30pm
01/16/2014 1:30 PM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | Phillip Schmitt and Sons Farm’s corn field in Riverhead.

It’s good to see county government update its 1996 Agriculture and Farmland Protection Plan with a more recent and comprehensive study. It’s often said that having only two representatives in an 18-member legislative body puts the five East End towns at a political disadvantage. And while there’s plenty of truth to that, an in-depth update to hone in on concerns and legislative priorities in the area’s most vital industry should not go overlooked. (more…)