- Scott Copey (Chair)
- Pat Buskey
- Marilyn DeMeyer
- Don Green
- Tim Harner
- Tim Thomas
Protecting Farmland and Open Space in Parma
The Town of Parma is home to some of the most fertile soils in the world. This prime
farmland is an irreplaceable resource that produces our food, helps maintain clean
water, controls flooding, supports our local economy, provides wildlife habitat and
maintains the beautiful rural character of our town. Once paved and developed, it is gone forever.
Why is farmland preservation important?
According to the American Farmland Trust (AFT) ...."New York's Farmland is at risk. Between 1997 and 2002, New York lost 127,000 acres of
farmland or an average of 70 acres every day. Poorly planned growth, or "sprawl,"
is responsible. From 1982 to 1997, the amount of urbanized land in upstate New York grew
30 percent, while the population grew only 3 percent. Nearby states, including
Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Vermont have been spending vastly
more per capita on farmland protection than New York. For New York to succeed at
protecting our rapidly vanishing farmland, we must greatly accelerate our efforts."
The Town of Parma Responds...
The Town of Parma created the Farmland and Open Space Protection Committee in 2007. One
of the Committee’s first actions was to undertake a resident survey,
which was conducted in July 2007. In 2008, the Town of Parma received a $25,000 grant from the
NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets to prepare an Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan. In 2008, the Town of Parma
retained the consulting firm of Stuart I. Brown Associates to assist in the preparation of the Plan. The plan was adopted by the Town of Parma on
April 7, 2009 with approvals by Monroe County on January 27, 2009 and NYS Dept of
Agriculture and Markets on August 21, 2009.
In 2007, the Farm Service Agency informally reported
to the committee that approximately 8,234 acres in the Town of Parma are actively farmed by commercial
farmers. Active farmland occupies approximately 33% of the total land area in the
Town of Parma with an estimated $7 million dollars in annual sales. Farming operations
also generates economic impacts on businesses that provide services or goods to farmers
and from businesses that process, transport or resell farm products. These include:
retail businesses that sell equipment, fertilizer, seeds and other inputs; providers
of financial, technical and engineering services; construction contractors; trucking
companies; processing plants; and retail sales of farm products.
Agricultural operations in Parma contribute jobs to the local economy. The Census of
Agriculture reports that approximately 75 farmers in the Parma area (Hilton and Spencerport zip
codes) earn their principal income from farming. The 2000 Census estimated that 91 Parma
residents were employed in agriculture or forestry in 1999. A total of 63 residents were reported
to be farmers or farm managers and 28 were employed in support occupations. These figures do
not include the seasonal labor that is employed by most farms to assist with harvesting.
The Monroe County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan, which was completed in 1999,
estimated that the economic multiplier for agricultural sales is between 3 and 11. It estimated the
total economic value created from agricultural wages and expenditures on supplies and services,
in addition to the value of the agricultural products, at more than $20 million.
The Residents’ Survey, conducted in 2007, demonstrates strong community support for efforts to
protect farmland. Of the 1,686 residents who responded to the survey, a total of 94.4% agreed
that "it is important to preserve farmland and open space in Parma." Similarly, 94.0% stated that
they "support the town in efforts to preserve farmland and open space."
"Without local farmland, there is no local food." (AFT)