ADVERTISEMENT

A public hearing on the Town of Marilla’s agricultural and farmland protection plan will be held at 7 p.m. Sept. 17 in the Community Center.

Barbara Johnson of Stuart I. Brown Associates said the meeting is to educate the public and get more feedback with a goal of having a plan finalized by the end of October.

Johnson has interviewed many local farmers for their input, identified soil conditions within the town, and is urging the Town Board to purchase additional conservation easements under a program known as PACE. She also wants the town to provide information to landowners who may choose to donate their conservation easements to a land trust.

At a meeting this week of a steering committee set up to address the issue, it also was suggested that ways be found to have the PACE process shortened for the farmers’ benefit.

The steering committee also is encouraging agri-tourism through a business guide that shows where farm markets, roadside stands and other agriculture-related businesses are located. The committee called for collaboration with other towns to promote the idea and also recommends the town work closely with the state Department of Environmental Conservation during the review of solid waste disposal and other activities that may affect groundwater quality.