Agriculture and Natural Lands

The Ulster County Planning Department oversees and is involved with an array of programs and topic areas that affect our County's Natural Lands.

Agricultural Districts Overview
The purpose of the New York State Certified Agricultural District Program is to encourage the use of land for farming.

Agricultural Districts - Annual Inclusions
The Ulster County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board (AFPB) met on May 30, 2023, to make its recommendation to include 19 whole tax parcels, approximately 418 acres, in the New York State Certified Agricultural District Program.

Census of Agriculture
The U.S. Census of Agriculture is conducted every 5 years, with the most recent data available for 2017.  Beginning in 1997, the Census of Agriculture has been conducted by the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).  Before 1997, the Census of Agriculture was conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau.  The smallest geography for agricultural census data is county-level data.

Agriculture and Farmland Protection Plans
See the County's Progress on its updated 2023 plan as well as our previous and local municipal Agriculture Farmland Protection Plans

Open Space Plan
Ulster County has a long history of open space protection. Our Shawangunk Ridge and “forever wild” Catskill Forest Preserve are two of the most significant open spaces in the Hudson Valley.

Stormwater and Green Infrastructure
Pollution from stormwater run-off, also known as non-point source pollution - can negatively impact water quality and ecosystem health and has the potential to increase flood flows and infrastructure damage during precipitation events. The County, like many others in New York, is required to implement the NYSDEC’s MS4 Stormwater program. The Department helps to coordinate this program and aims to do so in a way that not only ensures the County’s regulatory compliance but also provides technical support to other regulated municipalities in the County. Successful implementation of this program helps to protect our valuable water resources and helps to prevent flood damage.