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Cattaraugus County legislators will hold a public hearing March 22 for the eight-year review of the South Branch Agricultural District.

The hearing will be at 7:30 p.m. in the Mansfield Town Hall on County Road 14 in Eddyville.

Known as the East Otto Agricultural District, it was originally formed in 1975 and had 5,929 acres, mostly dairy farms. In 1983, the district was expanded to 8,697 acres.

And in 1991, it was combined with the Otto Mansfield Agricultural District and expanded to 37,313 acres in the towns of East Otto, Otto, Mansfield and New Albion. The name was then changed to South Branch Agricultural District.

After review, the county Planning Board and the county Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board recommended continuing the district for eight more years with certain modifications.

The boards' review states: "The district is still economically viable and consistent with county and local plans and policies. The district is an important part of the local economy. Dairy farms and vegetable and fruit productions and sales continue to be the most important income sources."

Proposed changes include adding some parcels adjacent to the district that are considered to be active in farming and deleting two parcels in the Village of Cattaraugus and those landowners who have asked to be excluded.

The new district would total 42,065 acres, including 13,274 in East Otto, 12,007 in Otto, 7,867 in Mansfield and 8,917 in New Albion.

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