Tell Governor Cuomo to Please Help the Next Generation of Farmers Find Affordable Farmland

NextGenpic-e-news.jpgOne of the biggest challenges young farmers face is access to affordable farmland. At the same time, farms being passed from one generation to the next are vulnerable to being lost to development as families grapple with the challenges of successfully transferring their land and businesses.

Tragically, New York has lost 450,000 acres of farmland to real estate development since the 1980s. According to the 2012 Census of Agriculture, over 30 percent of the state’s remaining farmland is managed by farmers over age 65, while farmers under the age of 35 manage only 4 percent of New York’s farmland.

Bill A.7002/S.5377, sponsored by Assemblyman Bill Magee and Senator Patty Ritchie, would improve access to affordable farmland. This bill would require state agencies to inventory state-owned farmland that could be leased to farmers and take steps to enhance farmers' access to this land, with an emphasis on beginning farmers. It would also reduce the likelihood that state-owned farmland would be developed, if it was sold by the state, and would require the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets and Advisory Council on Agriculture to report to the Governor and State Legislature about programs and policies that the State of New York could enact to facilitate farm transfers and access to land for next generation farmers. 

This bill has been passed by both houses of the State Legislature. Now it is up to the Governor to sign it into law.

You can help by sending an e mail to Governor Cuomo to help make affordable farmland accessible to the next generation of New York farmers by signing A.7002/S.5377 into law!

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    Please Support the Next Generation of Farmers

    Dear Governor Cuomo [Decision Maker],

    Farmland lies at the foundation of New York State's $46.7 billion farm and food economy. New York's 30,000 farms generated $5.7 billion in sales in 2012 and provide jobs for an estimated 60,000 people. These farms support the state's food processing sector which produces milk, fruits, vegetables and grains into cheese, yogurt, baked goods, wine, beer, spirits and other food products, creating another 68,000 jobs. These farm and food jobs are a form of steady employment for residents across New York.

    But, tragically, New York has lost 450,000 acres of farmland to real estate development since the 1980s. One of the biggest challenges faced by the next generation of farmers is access to affordable farmland. Beginning farmers find themselves competing with real estate developers over an agricultural land base shrinking in the face of suburban sprawl. At the same time, farms being passed from one generation to the next are vulnerable to being lost to development as families grapple with the challenges of successfully transferring their land and businesses.



    Bill A.7002/S.5377, sponsored by Assemblyman Bill Magee and Senator Patty Ritchie, would help the next generation of farmers access affordable agricultural land by making more state-owned farmland available to farmers and take steps to enhance access to this land for beginning farmers. I urge you to improve land access for the next generation of farmers in New York by signing A.7002/S.5377 into law.

    Sincerely,
    [Your Name]
    [Your Address]
    [City, State ZIP]