Farmland and Open Space Preservation
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Committee Members
  • Scott Copey (Chair)
  • Pat Buskey
  • Marilyn DeMeyer
  • Linda Mary Judd
  • 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?

No Farms
No Food

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)

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