Daniel Webster, in his Remarks on Agriculture, asserted that "When tillage begins, other arts follow. The farmers, therefore, are the founders of human civilization." If Webster is right, civilization in New York State is floundering. Dutchess County recently witnessed the closing of the county's oldest dairy operation, Kay-Ray Farm. With Kay-Ray gone, Dutchess now has just over 50 farms left, down from over 100 in 1987 and from nearly 300 in 1972. What happened to this farm and this county is happening, to varying degrees, throughout the state. Legislatively, we have left the barn door ajar and the state's productive agricultural land is disappearing through it.
John R. Nolon, The Stable Door is Open: New York's Statutes to Protect Farm Land, N.Y. St. B.J., Feb. 1995, at 36, http://digitalcommons.pace.edu/lawfaculty/607/.