Utica, NY (WIBX) - The month of January is the open enrollment period for people applying to be included in an agricultural district in Oneida County.

The enrollment allows farmers to register their property into one of the seven agricultural districts, whether they farm it or lease it.

Agriculture Development Specialist for Cornell Cooperative Extension Marty Broccoli says registering a property helps farmers.

"What it does," he says, "is it protects a farmer's right to farm in case towns decide to change laws and regulations."

Broccoli says there's no downside to registering a property. He says it's very important to register because he has seen many zoning law clashes between municipalities and farmers.

To register, farmers must pick up a form at their town clerk's office and return it to the Oneida County Planning Department, Union Station, 321 Main Street, Utica, NY 13501 no later than January 31.

Applications will then be reviewed by the Farmland Protection Board, a public hearing will be held and the members will vote to adopt or reject the inclusion of the land. If it's accepted, it goes to the Oneida County Board of Legislators where it is voted on.