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Farmland Protection Plan a first for Ballston

Southworth said an idea the town board has for helping farmers with marketing is to create a farm brochure where people could see what farms have to offer with addresses and hours of operation listed.

Pott said while development might be good in some respects, there comes a time when the community will have realize "if we build on it, we can never go back; if we develop it we can never go back to farm."

The committee presented an outline of how the drafting process will go. First the committee will develop a mission statement. Then, it will define a brief history of agiculture in Ballston and Saratoga County, followed by defining and identifying the agricultural land that still exists. The committee will define the types of agriculture currently ongoing and taking place now, then look at current regional planning, then identify current inventory and map it. The committee will follow that up with identifying lands that could be reclaimed for agriculture, identify soil types, identify town development trends and pressures, continually seek community input, reach out to landowners to see who wants to be included in preservation, analyze data and identify fiscal and zoning impacts and finally prepare a draft of the Farmland Protection Plan.

The committee is comprised of Jeremy Knight, town board member and part of Knight Orchards; Frieda Garrison who owns a horse farm with her husband; Laura Conrad, a realtor; Garth Ellm of Ellms Trees; Chuck Curtis, owner of Willow Marsh Farm and Andy Van Vorst, co-owner of Brookbound Farm.

Pott is the only hobby farmer but she said she knows a little something about what it takes.

"I have 130 acres of land, raised 30 head of sheep, 20 rabbits, 45 chickens, three donkeys, 15 horses, a bunch of ducks. My husband's an attorney and I'm his paralegal. We homeschooled and had all those critters for the biology and science part of that experience," said Pott, who said her farm has been called Brookdale Farm since 1835.

The committee is aiming to have a draft of the plan complete by the end of the year. It will hold frequent meetings open to the public throughout that process, with the next being Thursday, Jan. 27, at 7 p.m., although Pott warned it would be a tight squeeze since it's being held in the conference room at Town Hall.

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