On November 29, 2022 the Cattaraugus County Agriculture and Farmland Protection Board adopted the following statement regarding solar development in Cattaraugus County.
"The Cattaraugus County Agriculture and Farmland Protection Board wants to express our concern for the rise in large scale solar projects being proposed on quality and productive agricultural soils. We understand the need for landowners to make prudent financial decisions for themselves and their families and the importance of renewable energy, but we ask for a balanced approach.
The AFPB’s mission is to protect prime farmland, prime farmland if drained, and farmland of statewide importance. The protection of these soils is essential for the future of agriculture and farming in Cattaraugus County and New York State. When solar energy development occurs on farmland, following the 2019 NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets, Guidelines for Solar Energy Projects – Construction Mitigation for Agricultural Lands is vital to minimize permanent destruction of soils, a resource that cannot be restored to its original state.
The AFPB recommends that municipalities steer commercial solar energy development away from viable agricultural soils and instead focus on developing fallow or nonproductive agricultural land.
Landowners should also be aware that if the primary use of a parcel changes from agriculture to energy production that they will lose their agricultural tax exemptions. The Board recommends that any landowner approached by a solar company should seek experienced legal counsel."