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Farmland Preservation on the East End: What’s really going on?

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Presentation on theme: "Farmland Preservation on the East End: What’s really going on?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Farmland Preservation on the East End: What’s really going on?

2 LONG ISLAND’S RURAL HISTORY There was once 141,000 acres of farmland on LI. In recent years farmland has dwindled down to only 34,000 acres, mostly on the East End. There are only 3 farms left in all of Nassau County!

3 THE PROBLEM Development on agricultural land has increased enormously over the last few years on LI Development applications have doubled in Riverhead since last year! Over 70% of East End farmland is now owned by developers & real estate speculators.

4 THE PROBLEM There is a minimum threshold of farmland that must remain active, so that the farm related industry doesn’t collapse. Other parts of the economy that will eventually collapse if farmland continues to disappear include businesses that provide tools, repairs, seed, farm machinery, fertilizer, a skilled workforce, irrigation equipment, and much more!

5 For each new home built, taxes go up! THE PROBLEM police and fire protection waste collection road improvements public transportation most expensively- new schools

6 THE PROBLEM What’s wrong with all this development and loss of farmland? Isn’t this just “progress”? What’s “progressive” about higher taxes?


8 THE SOLUTION What’s stopping us? The L.I. Builder’s Institute… and The L.I. Farm Bureau…

9 L.I. BUILDER’S INSTITUTE They oppose upzoning for obvious reasons… They’re doing what they have always done, build as many houses as they can, because that is how they make money. The more over-development, the richer they get! $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ $$$$$

10 THE FARM BUREAU Who is the Farm Bureau? What does it stand for? What does this have to do with L.I.? How does this affect the upzoning debate? Why wouldn’t the Farm Bureau want to preserve as much farmland as possible?

11 We have no problem with farmers. We want to save the East End's farms. F.Y.I.

12 THE FARM BUREAU The U.S.D.A. states that there are 1.9 million farmers left in the U.S., and that number is rapidly declining. The Farm Bureau claims to have 4.9 million members nationwide. Not every farmer is a Farm Bureau member. Do the math!

13 THE FARM BUREAU The LI Farm Bureau website claimed 5,000 members Estimates usually range from 150-500 farmers Who are the other 4,000+ members?

14 "I was there when they were first organized. They were organized by the banks, the insurance companies, the railroads and the chambers of commerce to keep the farmers quiet. I ought to know, because I was the first president of the Farm Bureau Federation in North Dakota and remained so until I found out what it was...." - Usher Burdick THE FARM BUREAU

15 "using the American farmer to build one of the largest insurance and financial empires in the United States while masquerading as an organization devoted to the farmer’s interest." - Joseph Resnick

16 THE FARM BUREAU “the Farm Bureau is far more than simply an organization of farmers, as it so often claims. The nation’s biggest farm organization has been quietly but systematically amassing one of the largest business networks in America, while turning its back on the deepening crisis of the farmers whom it supposedly represents.” - Samuel Berger

17 THE FARM BUREAU "(T)hey are no more a family farmer organization than is State Farm Insurance. Just because you have the word farmer in your name doesn't mean you really represent farmers." - Jim Hightower

18 THE FARM BUREAU The Farm Bureau often supports agendas that have nothing to do with farming at all. They have: opposed campaign finance reform opposed the Equal Rights Amendment opposed the Voting Rights Act called for the abolishment of the Dept. of Education and the Dept. of Energy funded mega malls, oil companies and subdivisions!!!!

19 THE FARM BUREAU The Farm Bureau often supports anti- environmental agendas: opposed adding rivers to Wild and Scenic Rivers System opposed a no net loss of wetland policy within the U.S. fought against Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act, Food Quality Protection Act supported logging of our national forests took credit for defeating the Kyoto Protocol

20 And the most baffling of all, are the Farm Bureau’s policies and practices that hurt farm families: The Farm Bureau takes members monies overseas to start business that directly compete with U.S. businesses. The Farm Bureau supports foreign investment in U.S. agricultural lands, which takes profits from crops planted on U.S. soil to foreign nations. THE FARM BUREAU

21 The LI Farm Bureau has written amicus curiae briefs, otherwise known as ‘friend of the court’ briefs, arguing in support of developing farmland into golf courses and subdivisions.

22 The LI Farm Bureau wrote editorials in several local newspapers, suggesting development of the KeySpan Jamesport property. THE FARM BUREAU “Why couldn’t Riverhead Town allow some reasonable economic development compatible with the tourist economy.” “The idea that the KeySpan property is ‘pristine’ and environmentally significant is untrue”

23 THE FARM BUREAU In their recent comments on the Riverhead Master Plan, the L.I. Farm Bureau disagreed with the Master Plan's call for less golf course development on farmland

24 THE FARM BUREAU “The LIFB suggests that the residential to open space ratio should be 50/50, in contrast to the proposed 30/70.”The 'open space' they refer to in this quote is farmland. They want to see more homes and less farmland, and they even want some of this “open space” to be golf courses instead of farmland.

25 THE FARM BUREAU The LI Farm Bureau says-just buy all the land or just buy all the development rights- but they know this is a mission impossible. This would cost east end taxpayers over $750 million! And that figure doesn’t include the amount of funds needed to protect woodlands and other environ-mentally sensitive open space parcels that we must purchase outright.

26 THE FARM BUREAU Local government must be able to use all the tools available to it to protect farmland, it is too vital a resource to lose. This tool chest includes: PDR TDR UPZONING with MANDATORY CLUSTERING!!!

27 THE FARM BUREAU In its attempts to stop upzoning of agricultural land on the North Fork, the LI Farm Bureau has been saying that upzoning will diminish equity in a farmers land and he will not able to get the loans he may need during the lean years. Long Island's farmers already enjoy some of the best equity in the nation, since their land is worth so much more than most other agricultural lands. No farmer has ever submitted any evidence that he’s been denied a loan because of upzoning.

28 Upzoning in other regions of the country, like the Napa Valley California, which has been upzoned to 20 acre zoning, has significantly increased the value and equity of farmland after a couple years. Since 20 acre zoning was implemented in Napa Valley, development rights are as high as $150,000! THE FARM BUREAU

29 State Legislators have assured farmers that even if their equity was harmed, which it won't be, the State would be willing to guarantee loans using the Community Preservation Fund. The only groups that would be harmed by upzoning are the real estate speculators and the developers. They will not be able to build as many homes per acre if the land is upzoned. THE FARM BUREAU

30 THE CURRENT SITUATION Over 1 million acres of farmland are lost to development each each in the U.S. Final build-out is expected on LI within the next 10 years! Now is the time to preserve what we can, before it is too late!

31 WHAT CAN WE DO? Call the Town of Riverhead, 727-3200 and tell them you support upzoning with mandatory clustering! If you are a farmer or a Farm Bureau member, tell the Farm Bureau you want them to support upzoning with mandatory clustering and to stop helping developers!

32 CONCLUSION It is important for everybody on the East End to join and support real farmers, because of the importance of agriculture to our economy, environment and quality-of-life, and this is especially true because of the help that farmers are not receiving from today’s Farm Bureau.

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