The Stable Door is Open: New York's Statutes to Protect Farm Land
New York State Bar Journal, p. 36, February 1995
4 Pages Posted: 14 Nov 2009
Date Written: Feb. 1995
Daniel Webster, in his Remarks on Agriculture, asserted that "When tillage begins, other arts follow. The farmers,. therefore, are the founders of human civilization." If Webster is right, civilization in New York State is floundering. Dutchess County recently witnessed the closing of the county's oldest dairy operation, Kay-Ray Farm. With Kay-Ray gone, Dutchess now has just over 50 farms left, down from over 100 in 1987 and from nearly 300 in 1972. What happened to this farm and this county is happening, to varying degrees, throughout the state. Legislatively, we have left the barn door ajar and the state's productive agricultural land is disappearing through it. Webster was right to associate farming with "other arts" and the flourishing of human civilization. We value agricultural land, and the unspoiled rural countryside, for a variety of subjective reasons that appeal to residents of rural areas and their urban visitors. Webster should have gone on, however, to define the economic importance of agricultural land.
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