Agricultural Environmental Management (AEM)
AEM is a voluntary, incentive-based program available to all farmers through their local Soil and Water Conservation District. AEM supports common-sense, cost-effective, and science-based decisions to meet farm goals while protecting and conserving New York‘s natural resources. By participating in AEM, farmers can document their environmental stewardship and further advance their positive contributions to their communities, our food and bio-systems, the economy, and the environment.

The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets and the NYS Soil and Water Conservation Committee administer the AEM framework and associated funding programs at the state-level and Soil and Water Conservation Districts lead AEM at the local-level with farmers and conservation partners. Altogether, over a third of all farms in the state participate in AEM.
To start or continue with AEM, farmers connect with their local Soil and Water Conservation District to progress through the confidential, AEM conservation tiers, below:

• Tier 1 – Inventory current activities, interests, and potential environmental concerns of the farmer.
• Tier 2 – Document current environmental stewardship and assess and prioritize areas of concern.
• Tier 3 – Develop conservation plans addressing concerns and opportunities tailored to farm goals.
• Tier 4 – Implement plans using available educational, technical, and financial assistance.
• Tier 5 – Evaluate practices and plans for conservation and farm viability.

No-till Program
This program provides an inexpensive solution for cover crop applications. Increase crop yield, use less seed, reduce labor cost, conserve water, and improve soil structure and carbon sequestration. The no-till seeding approach to planting avoids disturbing the soil structure like traditional tilling does. Fall seed recommendations include cover cropping with Winter Rye, Annual Rye grass, White clover, Red clover, Barley or even Oats are all good cover crop species. Follow seed rate recommendations as per species. The seeder has a 7.5’ working width, which makes it ideal for over seeding pastures in spring. This will help to reestablish stressed pastures to develop a good stand of forage prior to grazing season. Pasture seed recommendations include cool and warm season grass varieties. Last the seeder can be used to establish forage crops that will be harvested and bailed. These grass types include Alfalfa, Timothy hay and clovers.

Rental Rate: $15 per acre with a $100 cleaning fee if equipment is not returned thoroughly cleaned, all fees are due at completion of seeding. Minimum charge of 5 acres.

SCSWCD No-till Lease Agreement 2022

Agricultural Assessments
The State Legislature enacted the New York Agricultural Districts Law in 1971 to protect and promote the availability of land for farming purposes. Subsequent amendments have broadened its scope. The law provides a locally initiated mechanism for creating agricultural districts. Forming agricultural
districts is intended to counteract the impact that nonfarm development can have upon the continuation of farm businesses.

The Agricultural Districts Law allows reduced property tax bills for land in agricultural production by limiting the property tax assessment of such land to its prescribed agricultural assessment value. Owners whose land satisfies the eligibility requirements may apply for an agricultural assessment (see details below).

Agricultural districts also provide the framework to:
• Limit unreasonable local regulation on farm practices
• Modify public agencies’ ability to acquire farmland through eminent domain
• Modify the right to advance public funds to construct facilities that encourage development
• Require state agencies to modify administrative regulations and procedures to encourage continuing farm businesses
• Provide Right to Farm provisions for protection from private nuisance suits for land in agricultural districts and parcels receiving agricultural assessments outside districts

Benefit assessment, special ad valorem levies, or other rates and fees for the finance of improvements such as water, sewer or nonfarm drainage may not be imposed upon land used in agricultural production and within an agricultural district unless such charges were imposed prior to forming the agricultural district.

To determine whether your land will qualify for an ag assessment please contact your local assessor. If your parcel qualifies for ag assessment The District can produce a soils map to be used in your application for ag assessment. The cost to produce this map is $40 per parcel. Our normal time for producing these maps is January and February. We will produce maps during other times of the year but there may be a longer wait time.