Schuyler County is located in the heart of New York’s Finger Lakes region. It received funding from the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets to develop an Agriculture and Farmland Protection Plan and hired Shepstone Management Company to assist. The project was conducted over an 18 month period and included interviews with dozens of farmers and agri-business representatives. An extensive survey of these producers and suppliers was also made. An analysis of the value of the agricultural sector to the County’s economy formed the foundation of the Plan. It was followed by a detailed inventory of resources and preparation of a measurable set of goals. Several major recommendations were offered including development of new added initiatives to complement the Seneca Lake Wine Trail, a Purchase of Development Rights program and an agricultural education initiative.
The County is steadily implementing the Agriculture and Farmland Protection Plan. The Industrial Development Authority has approved an Agricultural Industry Tax Abatement Program to stimulate development and expansion of agricultural support businesses, including wine industry support businesses.
Wineries, dairy farmers and economic developers have also further investigated the feasibility of cheese processing with the help of Shepstone Management and established new operations as a result. The dairy processing study included pro forma financial statements, rates of return and cash flow analyses. Similar plans have been prepared for several other business enterprises, organizations and counties.