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Mar 28, 2016 5:04 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman Explores Idea Of Buying Farmers' Chemical Rights

Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman is exploring the idea of using the CPF to buy chemical rights from farmers, as long as they are willing to sell them. The idea is to promote organic farming. ALISHA STEINDECKER
Mar 30, 2016 9:46 AM

Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman is toying with the idea of using the Community Preservation Fund to buy “chemical rights” from farmers to help keep pesticides out of the air and water.

“What does bother me is the spraying of pesticides, particularly near residential properties,” Mr. Schneiderman said last week. “I should be able to buy a bundle of rights on the property to restrict the use of toxic chemicals.”

The town has already purchased development rights from some landowners that place restrictions on how the land can be used, in some cases not only ruling out residential development, but also—using the purchase of what are called enhanced development rights—requiring that the land be used to actively grow food. Mr. Schneiderman suggested that another enhanced development right could ensure that the land is farmed only organically.

Purchasing chemical rights would be a perfectly legal use of the CPF, as long as there is a willing seller, according to State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr., one of the original authors of the state legislation that founded the CPF. “Any restrictions that the town may want to buy with regard to land that encourages open space, that encourages agriculture are legitimate public purposes under the Community Preservation Fund,” Mr. Thiele said, adding that the idea had come up a few years ago but never bore fruit.

There would need to be a document “that both the farmer and town would agree to sign and it would be like every other: agreement on price, agreement on what the document would look like,” Mr. Thiele said. He added that the contract would be subject to a public hearing and Town Board approval.

However, he said, the town should explore whether the idea would in fact be good policy. That means reaching out to stakeholders, such as the farming community and the Peconic Land Trust, to see what they think, he said.

“It is a great idea to try to promote organic farming,” Mr. Thiele said. “The primary issue for success is whether or not it is economically viable, given the land values.”

John L. Halsey, an apple farmer in Water Mill who is also on the agricultural advisory board for the town, said chemicals, as long as they are safe for the crop and people, are necessary. “I’ve only been farming for 53 years but I know of no crop that would survive without some type of chemical addition, whether it be from the ground or the grower applying it,” he said, adding that he was speaking only on his own behalf.

“How long would you live if you didn’t have something to eat?” he asked.

Mr. Halsey said that conventional farming using synthetic products often allows the use of a smaller volume of chemicals than organic farming does, and that the State Department of Environmental Conservation holds Suffolk County to a very high standard already when it comes to the use of pesticides, as it is home to Long Island’s sole source aquifer. According to a report from the Suffolk County Agricultural Industry, many pesticides that are used in the rest of the state and across the country are banned on Long Island.

Mr. Halsey also said it would be difficult to appraise the value of a property’s chemical rights. The appraiser would have to figure out the impact that removing the chemical rights would have on the value of the land, just as is done with development rights.

“First of all, I know this farmer wouldn’t even give it a second thought—we would be out of business,” Mr. Halsey said of selling chemical rights to the town.

John v.H. Halsey, the founder and president of the Peconic Land Trust, said that enforcing and monitoring chemical restrictions would also be difficult.

“I think it is hard for the town right now to monitor the restrictions it has that are a whole lot easier to see,” he said. “When someone builds a house, you can physically see that. With this, it is very difficult.”

He added, “The bottom line for a farmer is really that the public purchases what they are producing,” he said. “If they have apples full of worms or corn full of worms, people aren’t going to buy it.”

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It's time to stop charging people to contribute to this slush fund. It has now become a vehicle used to score political points.
By KevinLuss (356), SH on Mar 29, 16 7:25 AM
The farms I see are next to the houses that are only occupied 10 days a year. The CPF has already protected these peoples farm views, what next is the CPF fund going to paint there houses too. More political favors to the rich. Anna 2.0!!!
By GoldenBoy (351), EastEnd on Mar 29, 16 7:30 AM
"What does bothers me is the spraying of pesticides, particularly near residential properties." "I should be able to BUY A BUNDLE OF RIGHTS on the property to restrict the use of toxic chemicals". Firstly, homeowners who purchased land abutting a farm and then complain about farming have as much credibility as those living next to the airport and griping about planes, or living next to the old Bridgehampton Race Track and griping about racing noise. CAVEAT EMPTOR.Secondly Jay was elected Supervisor, ...more
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Mar 29, 16 7:34 AM
Seriously! As if the locals Farmers don't have enough to worry about....lets put up a mansion next to a farm field an complain!! Jay, U should stick to what u know before U cause more harm and strain to the already hard working farmers who put food on UR table !!!! Clearly Jay you have no clue as to how high the suicide rates are for farmers!!! Get over your self Jay an do some research!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
By toes in the water (884), southampton on Mar 29, 16 7:45 AM
3 members liked this comment
Jay stop spending our money. Hey Julie Lofstad and John Bouvier stop letting him do it. It's not your money it belongs to the people of this town. And just because your family got in to office you ain't the Kings of the docks.
By Gillnetter (105), Hampton Bays on Mar 29, 16 8:21 AM
Farmers have become very responsible with their pesticide use. We do not need more local legislation making it more difficult for them to do their jobs. It is a very important job the last time I checked. The State, with guidance from the DEC, has already put a system in place to limit pesticide misuse. It makes me laugh when career politicians show how little they really know. It is quite simple - no food, no people. Going after farmers shows a total lack of vision on Jay's part and anything ...more
By dnice (2346), Hampton Bays on Mar 29, 16 9:10 AM
Yeah, really. If homeowners want to stop the use of pesticides NEAR their yards, they should stop using them ON their yards....
By KevinLuss (356), SH on Mar 29, 16 10:48 AM
2 members liked this comment
every week is a new article on how JAY -JOHN - JULIE are spending tax money. What did you all think when you helped get them elected. East Hampton can't stand Jay , he did the same there. Julie who according to Jerry Brandt the conservative leader,was the most conservative candidate in the last race according to him.- She seems real conservative the way she is voting with Jay to spend tax money to help pay back people that helped get them elected. Wake up people the town has been bought and sold ...more
By farmlocal (83), Southampton on Mar 29, 16 9:52 AM
Jeremy Brandt is NOT the Conservative leader. He is a shill put in place by Jim Malone and Eddie Walsh.
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Mar 30, 16 1:19 PM
Before you start worrying about the farmers how about going after every pickup truck with a stack of pre-emergent bags, a bright yellow spreader and NO DEC triangles? You know, the ones illegally putting down tons of chemicals on the residential estates next to the farm fields. After you clean up that situation then you can start worrying about the farmers.
By cmac (184), East Quogue on Mar 29, 16 10:58 AM
"Purchasing chemical rights would be a perfectly legal use of the CPF, as long as there is a willing seller, according to State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr.,"

Why do I get scared when Jay & Fred get together?

They'll probably pay organic farmers to stop the pesticides and claim a victory.

SMH

By Draggerman (955), Southampton on Mar 29, 16 6:39 PM
1 member liked this comment
don't forget if Fred is there then you know his buddy Senator Lavalle wont be to far behind... Now you should be Scared!
By farmlocal (83), Southampton on Mar 30, 16 9:54 AM
1 member liked this comment
Save Spinney Hills!
By 27East Realty (18), HAMPTON BAYS on Mar 30, 16 11:56 AM
This guy is unreal. He has one scam after the next to pilfer as much money as possible. He's only been here for three months!
By HB90 (164), southampton on Mar 30, 16 10:18 PM
1 member liked this comment
Don't do it to the farmers! Do it to the estates! They are spreading much more toxic chemicals for their trees and lawns and to rid ticks - which only pushes - in the case of the ticks - the insects to neighboring properties and when they resurge the following year they are resistant to those chemicals - and furthermore birds and fish that eat those insects are impacted...go for the estates doing the spraying Schneiderman - they have the deeper pockets.
By Vikki K (490), Southampton on Mar 31, 16 12:46 PM
Vikki K, that is not true in regard to ticks and pesticides. Where are you getting your information?
By dnice (2346), Hampton Bays on Apr 3, 16 9:49 PM
Enough of BIG government !
Southampton and East Hampton are creating more problems than they are solving.

These slush funds are magnets for all sorts of insane proposals and laws.
Super Funds for idle hands
By jediscuba (71), Bayside on Mar 31, 16 1:19 PM
1 member liked this comment
Mr Schneiderman is often quick to make a headline without doing his homework. The proliferation of nitrogen heavy fertilizers is applied by caretakers minding East End homes of ALL sizes. There are many more acres of grass lawns than farms, Mr Schneiderman. Area Farmer's who engage in certified organic farming use approved chemicals of all types to control fungus and minor pests. Best to put together a "knowledgeable" group of organic farmers before going off half-hitched to an idea that may be ...more
By Dodger (161), Southampton Village on Mar 31, 16 1:50 PM
1 member liked this comment
How about spending CPF funds on what it is supposed to be spent on. Buy up wooded land before it's all developed!
By Hillsnbells (43), Southampton on Mar 31, 16 4:45 PM
wooded land, usually north of the highway, doesn't give the same "farmland views" that the SOH buyers want although most wooded areas have the greatest topography ever but the monied don't care. Woodland is where almost 300 miles of trails have been protected (thanks to the Long Pond Greenbelt Assn) but the SOH don't care. Need to have a "spread" south of the highway with "scenic, protected" farmland views. Hyprocrites one and all!!
By xtiego (698), bridgehampton on Apr 1, 16 6:32 PM