THE GOALS OF THE OTSEGO COUNTY
AGRICULTURAL AND FARMLAND PROTECTION PLAN
Goal 1: Improve awareness and recognition of the importance of the economic, social and environmental roles of agriculture in Otsego County.
Goal 2: Improve profitability and the economic viability of farms in Otsego County. Encourage new farming and agriculturally related enterprises. The single most important issue facing farms and agri-businesses in Otsego County revolves around profitability.
Goal 3: Ensure that farming can continue as an industry and strengthening the role of agriculture in Otsego's economic development. In order to enhance the profitability of agriculture, farms must be considered like other small businesses in Otsego County.
Goal 4: Implement long term, cost effective farmland protection measures. Clearly, protection efforts can not be successful unless there is a long-term commitment and affordable solutions. "Quick fixes" will ultimately not protect agriculture and farmland in Otsego County.
Protect lands for agricultural uses so that a critical mass of farmland is available. Ensure and improve sustainability of the agricultural infrastructure that supports farming in Otsego County. Experiences elsewhere have shown that a “critical mass” of active farmland must be maintained for agriculture to survive on a local and regional basis. Without that critical mass, those businesses that serve agriculture will not be profitable and it will become increasingly difficult for farmers to manage islands of agricultural land.
Enhance farm-transfer programs so that needs of retiring and new farm operators are met and farms and farmland are protected. Input from farmers and farm groups identified this as a major issue. The aging population of farmers in Otsego County means that in the next five to ten years, there will be substantial land available for new or expanding farmers. It will be critical to enhance farm-transfer programs so that these lands continue in active agriculture, rather than being used for other purposes.
Sustain the rural landscape and the natural resources that support both farm and non-farm uses. Seek to acknowledge the environmental benefits of farmland. Farms and farmland contribute to everyone’s environment. Farms provide open space, views, outdoor recreation, rural lifestyles, wildlife habitat, and a clean environment. In a rural county such as Otsego, active farms remain a vital link to the quality of life of all its residents.