In 2012, the average farmer in the was 58.3 years old. Farming is a difficult and often unprofitable business, and transferring farmland can be complex and costly. These and other obstacles, like the high capital costs of farm equipment, prevent young people from entering farming, making regional food systems vulnerable as existing farm operators retire.
To address the problem of farmland access, the NYS Assembly and Senate have passed legislation (A. 7002/ S. 5377) that would: (1) require state agencies to identify state land that is viable for farming that could be sold or leased for that purpose; and (2) require the state’s Agriculture Advisory Council to provide advice to state agencies on tax, financial assistance and other programs that could address the needs of beginning farmers. The National Young Farmers Coalition, American Farmland Trust and Agrarian Trust are lobbying to ensure that Governor Cuomo signs the legislation into law.