SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Today, American Farmland Trust in partnership with the State of New York, agricultural organizations, land trusts and others are launching Farmland for a New Generation New York. This program is creating one of the most progressive solutions in the nation to help existing farmers, new farmers and younger generations of farm families access farmland while supporting retiring farmers and landowners in successfully transferring their farms to the next generation.
For farmers, finding land is often a main challenge, whether they are coming from a farm family or are new to farming. Beginning farmers in particular face major barriers in finding land at prices they can afford with conditions that will launch successful businesses, while existing farmers often have a hard time finding enough land to sustain their farm goals. In New York, the number of young farmers is shrinking, while the number of senior farmers is growing; between 2002 and 2012, the number of young farmers declined 30 percent at a time when nearly one in three farmers in New York are over 65. Further, research shows that over 90 percent of farmers over the age of 65 do not have a young person involved in the ownership or management of their farm. This means nearly two million acres of New York farmland will be at risk for development as it changes hands over the coming years.
Farmland for a New Generation New York addresses these issues by offering a Resource Center coordinated by American Farmland Trust with expert advisors, and a website (nyfarmlandfinder.org) featuring training materials and a listing of farmers in search of land and land available for farming throughout the state. The program will also support a network of Regional Navigators, or partner organizations with dedicated staff that will provide trainings and on-the-ground customized support for farmers and landowners in regions across New York.
“With support from Governor Cuomo and the State Legislature, the State of New York is taking a big step forward in helping farmers of today and tomorrow find a home on the land,” said David Haight, New York state director and vice president of programs for AFT. “Farmland for a New Generation New York is an innovative model that will help new farmers overcome one of the biggest barriers that they face – finding appropriate farmland at an affordable price under conditions that enable them to succeed.”
New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard A. Ball says, “We are pleased to partner with American Farmland Trust on this exciting new program that will help connect our beginning farmers with one of New York State’s greatest assets, its agricultural land. Working together, we are focused on supporting our next generation of farmers while helping to ensure that farmland remains used to produce fresh, local food and beverages for communities across the State.”
"As the Senate Chair of the Legislative Commission on Rural Resources, I was proud to work with American Farmland Trust and my senate colleagues to secure the necessary funding for the Farmland for a New Generation Program,” says Senator Pamela Helming of the 54th Senate District.
She continues, “This program will help connect farmers looking for new land to either start farming or expand their operations with those seeking to sell, ultimately ensuring that farmland stays in agricultural production. This is a crucial service that will facilitate opportunities for land to pass onto the next generation of farmers and is especially important as the number of farmers seeking to retire continues to grow and more and more farmland is subsequently lost each year. The Resource Center and Regional Navigators will be great tools for farmers of all ages and experience levels, and I am excited about the program implementation! I want to thank American Farmland Trust for their leadership on this important issue. "
“Agriculture is a critical industry and an important family tradition not only in Saratoga and Washington counties, but across New York State,” says Assembly Member Carrie Woerner, Assembly District 113.
She continues, “The Farmland for a New Generation program will help ensure the success of our family farms for many years to come by supporting both current and new farmers and protecting our farmland. I am proud to have partnered with American Farmland Trust to secure funding for this crucial program.”
“Next-generation farmers are essential to keeping New York agriculture strong and vibrant into the future. Here at Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, we are seeing renewed energy for farming as a profession in many of the constituencies we serve — from undergraduate students to new and diverse entrants taking online courses through our Cornell Small Farms Program. But more than just enthusiasm is needed. Land access is a critical issue for many beginning farmers, which is why we are so pleased to partner with American Farmland Trust to share expertise, education and connectivity,” says Julie Suarez, associate dean for government and community relations, Cornell CALS.
“The partnership on display today is an example of all of us working together to remove as many barriers as possible for new and beginning farmers. Preserving farmland for the next generation, whether they grew up on a farm or not, is a priority for New York Farm Bureau, and connecting farmers with available opportunities will help make sure prime farmland stays in production. This not only benefits our rural economies but the local food supply we all value and need,” says Renée St. Jacques, assistant director of public policy for New York Farm Bureau.
Farmland for a New Generation New York builds on the success of the Hudson Valley Farmlink Network – celebrating its fourth anniversary this year. A partnership of 15 organizations coordinated by American Farmland Trust, Hudson Valley Farmlink Network has successfully helped more than 140 farmers in finding a place to farm in the Hudson Valley since its launch in 2014.
“The Agricultural Stewardship Association’s participation in the Hudson Valley Farmlink Network has enabled us to help next generation farmers gain access to farmland in Washington and Rensselaer counties,” said Executive Director Teri Ptacek. “The Farmland for a New Generation New York will provide these same benefits to beginning farmers across the state. Kudos to the State of New York and AFT for making this program happen.
Press Conference Details:
When: Oct. 22, 2018, at 10 a.m.
10 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.: Program and Q&A
10:45 a.m.: Light refreshments
Where: Pitney Meadows Community Farm (166-acre conserved property)
223 West Ave, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
Tune in via Facebook Live: www.facebook.com/americanfarml...
RSVP: Olivia Fuller, New York program & outreach coordinator
(518) 581-0078 – firstname.lastname@example.org
American Farmland Trust is the only national conservation organization dedicated to protecting farmland, promoting environmentally sound farming practices and keeping farmers on the land. Since 1980, AFT's innovative work has helped to permanently protect more than 6.5 million acres of farmland and ranchland and led the way for the adoption of conservation practices on millions more. No Farms, No Food. Learn more at www.farmland.org.