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October 23, 2012


DiNapoli: Suffolk Highest Grossing County For Agricultural Sales In State

Agricultural Sales Vital To Long Island Economy

Agricultural production on Long Island reached nearly $260 million in annual revenue, according to a report released today by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.

"Long Island's agricultural industry and wineries generate much needed economic activity and provide a bountiful harvest for local consumption," said DiNapoli. "Visitors who travel to the Island for its fall festivals and winery tours also frequent nearby restaurants and shops, helping sustain many small businesses. These industries create jobs and stimulate spending in local communities to the benefit to all New Yorkers."

Highlights of the report:

  • Long Island is home to 644 farms and 35,690 acres of farmland.
  • Long Island is the top regional producer of nursery, greenhouse, floriculture and sod products.
  • At $7,249 per acre, agricultural sales on Long Island were more than ten times the state average.
  • Long Island is home to 57 of New York State's 316 wineries. Its wineries cover more than 3,000 acres and produce 1.2 million gallons of wine annually.
  • Suffolk County accounted for more than 90 percent ($242.9 million) of Long Island's $258.7 million in agricultural sales for 2007.
  • Suffolk County is the state's largest producer of pumpkins, cauliflower and tomatoes and is the third-largest producer of grapes, peaches and strawberries.

DiNapoli released the report at White Post Farms, a fifth generation family-owned farm that has been in operation since 1886.

"Suffolk County is proud to lead the state in agricultural productivity and the nation in farmland preservation," said Suffolk County executive Steven Bellone. "Today's announcement confirms the effectiveness of Suffolk's Purchase of Development Rights program, which to date has permanently preserved nearly one-third of Suffolk's farmland. Preserved farmland contributes approximately $110 million annually to the regional economy. Recognizing agriculture's critical role in increasing tourism, creating jobs and generating economic activity,

Suffolk County will continue to lead the state as we take steps to boost agri-tourism, advance aquaculture, and increase marketing opportunities for our heritage farmers, while continuing to fund programs provided by Cornell Cooperative Extension."

"Long Island Farm Bureau is extremely pleased with this report as it relates to New York and Long Island agriculture," said Frank Beyrodt, president of the Long Island Farm Bureau. "Agriculture is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Empire State, with Suffolk County being the highest revenue producer in the state. Agriculture not only produces food, wine, horticulture, and aquaculture, it also provides open space, aquifer recharge, wildlife habitat and relationship to tourism. It is tremendous that New York State recognizes farming as one of the state's 'economic engines.' We appreciate the work of Comptroller DiNapoli in ensuring public policy to support this natural resource, our farmers."

"Through our research and educational programs, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County is proud to work with our partners, including Long Island Farm Bureau, to promote 'sustainable agriculture.' For agriculture to remain viable in Suffolk County, farms must be productive to meet the needs of society, profitable so that farmers can make a livelihood, and preserve our natural resources," said Vito Minei, executive director of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County.

"We welcome this timely report from Comptroller DiNapoli which confirms the important impact agriculture continues to have on Long Island's economy. The quality of our region's wines combined with our concerted marketing efforts have succeeded in attracting increasing numbers of visitors throughout the year, with clear multiplier effects for businesses across the North and South Forks," said Steven L. Bate, executive director of the Long Island Wine Council.

"Long Island has a proud heritage of being a leading agricultural region in New York. This report reinforces the importance farming has on the rural economy, and New York Farm Bureau appreciates Comptroller DiNapoli once again recognizing the impact. He has consistently pointed out what farmers bring to the table across the state. Not only do they grow local food but also local jobs," said Dean Norton, president of the New York Farm Bureau.

Recognizing the importance of preserving the business of farming and safeguarding water quality, Suffolk County established its Agricultural Stewardship Program in 2004 to protect the county's ground and surface waters including the Long Island Sound from nutrient and pesticide runoff. The heralded program, a collaborative effort of the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County, the Suffolk County Soil and Water Conservation District and the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets, promotes environmentally safe crop production via research and education.

In addition, the Suffolk County Farmland Preservation Program (the first in the nation to purchase development rights to preserve farmland) has preserved more than 10,000 acres since its inception in 1974.

The report draws primarily on data from the United States Department of Agriculture and reflects the most recent publicly available data, which is from 2007.

For a copy of the report visit:

Note: Agriculture sales exclude wine sales.



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