Purchase of Development Rights (PDR)

The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Farmland Protection Program provides funding to protect viable farming operation across the State. State funding is used to buy the development rights on farms, while allowing farms to continue to own, farm, and manage their operation.

By selling the development rights on land, a farmer is forfeiting his or her ability to build commercial, residential and industrial structures on their property. These restrictions are permanent and are passed to all future owners of the land.

There is flexibility built into this program. This program allows for the construction of structures that will assist in the farming operation (barns, silos, milking parlors, etc.). These farm building can be located in a "farmstead area" (a location where unlimited farm structures can be built), or can be built anywhere on the farm (the amount of structures built on the farm, outside of the "farmstead area" is restricted). With each farm, a balance is found between preservation and the future flexibility of the farm operation.


Farmers benefit from this program by receiving some of the equity of their land without having to sell or borrow against the farm. Cash in hand can provide farmers the ability to buy more land or new equipment, both of which would increase the viability of their operation. No restrictions are placed on the income received.

Farmers also know that their farm will forever remain available for agricultural use.

How is the Land Protected?

PDR results in a document called a conservation easement that is filed at the County Clerk's office.

How Much are Development Rights Worth?

The value of the development rights on a farm is determined by taking the difference between the full value of the land (what the land would sell for as it is today), and the value of the property after it is encumbered by a conservation easement (what the land is worth as strictly farmland). This difference is the value of the development rights.

Specific property values will be determined through an appraisal process. Each property has different values based upon its location, quality of soils, development potential, and other factors.

American Farmland Trust created a general fact sheet about Agricultural Conservation Easements, available here.

For information specific information about the current farmland protection program please contact Lorna Wright, Director of Conservation Programs, at (585) 256-2130 or email her at lwright@geneseelandtrust.org.

Genesee Land Trust Info For Landowners