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Workshop Series Helps Farmers Access Farmland and Pass on the Family Farm

Workshop SeriesThe Hudson Valley Farmlink Network (HVFN), a partnership of organizations dedicated to facilitating farm transfers and making farmland accessible to the next generation in the Hudson Valley, launched a series of workshops this spring. On April 8, 45 participants attended a Farm Transfer and Estate Planning workshop in Greenwich co-hosted by the Agricultural Stewardship Association and NY FarmNet/NY FarmLink. “I really appreciated HVFN bringing this workshop to Greenwich,” said John Hand of Hand Melon Farm. “It’s the jump start farmers need to start the planning process.” On May 6 a Farm Leasing for Farmers and Landowners workshop will be held at SUNY Orange in Newburgh. The panel will feature local farmers and landowners with leasing experience as well as legal expertise from Maryanne McGovern, Kenyon, Schwartzberg and Kenyon, PLLC, and George Lithco, Jacobowitz and Gubits, LLP. This workshop is co-hosted by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Orange County, GrowNYC, and the Orange County Land Trust.

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American Farmland Trust, Beekman 1802, and Culinary Institute of America Host Film Screening for Students

Farmers and chefs have a lot in common. Farmers grow food. Chefs prepare food. They are vital links in our food chain. American Farmland Trust, the Fabulous Beekman Boys and the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) are screening The First Season,  a powerful documentary film about dairy farming, to encourage thoughtful dialogue between CIA  students and a panel of dairy farmers,  cheese producers and dairy distributors about the future of dairy farming in New York and the role of farmland conservation in protecting the land necessary for the success of the dairy industry. The First Season, directed by Hollywood producer Rudd Simmons tells the story of the struggles of an upstate New York couple, to start their own dairy farm. The screening and panel discussion will be held on March 31 at the CIA in Hyde Park.

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Farmers, Local Government and Land Trusts Lobby New York Legislature

AFT lobby day March 2014 resized for enewsAmerican Farmland Trust and a team of farmers and representatives from local government and land trusts met with legislators last week to advocate for funding for the state Farmland Protection Program beyond the $1 million increase proposed by Governor Cuomo in his executive budget. The Farmland Protection Program is part of the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) which the Governor proposed funding at $157 million, a $4 million increase. In the house budgets, which came out last week, the Assembly proposed increasing the EPF to $167 million while the Senate proposed $200 million in funding by putting $47 million from the state’s Superfund into the EPF of which $43 million will go to improve municipal water infrastructure. Unfortunately neither house budget includes any increased funding for farmland protection beyond that proposed by Governor Cuomo. With the April 1st deadline approaching, the Assembly, Senate and the Governor have begun negotiations. We urge the state to increase funding for farmland conservation to $25 million to help farmers and communities protect New York’s irreplaceable farmland.

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Preliminary Data Suggests Next Generation of Farmers Struggling to Get on the Land

andrew with tomatoes resizedNewly released data from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) confirms that due to a combination of economic factors, competition for land and changing farmer demographics, the next generation of farmers’ struggle to gain access to farmland is a problem that’s not going away.

The USDA’s 2012 Census of Agriculture’s Preliminary Results released last month shows that the nation’s farmers are continuing to age. Thirty-three percent of farmers nationwide are age 65 and older, with 12 percent of farmers 75 and older. In contrast, only 6 percent of American farmers are below age 35. In New York State the average age of a farmer has increased to 57, nearly 17 years older than the age of the average American worker.

Although the number of young farmers in New York is beginning to rise–increasing by 14 percent between 2007 and 2012–research shows  Read More »

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Farm Transfer and Estate Planning Workshop, April 8

March 2014 wrkshp flyer HVFLN resizedA workshop for farm families on estate planning and transferring  farm businesses to the next generation will be hosted by American Farmland Trust, the Agricultural Stewardship Association and New York FarmNet/FarmLink on April 8 in Washington County, New York. The workshop will cover nuts and bolts considerations for farm and estate planning, communication tools for working through family and business issues, agricultural conservation options for your land including the purchase of development rights, as well as  resources to help participants with the entire planning process. The featured presenter will be attorney and certified public accountant John Lavelle of Lavelle & Finn, LLP. The workshop will be held on Tuesday, April 8, at the Boneyard BBQ, in Greenwich from 10:00 to 2:00. This workshop is organized by the Hudson Valley Farmlink Network – a partnership of organizations dedicated to facilitating farm transfers and making farmland accessible to the next generation of farmers in the Hudson Valley. For more information about this workshop click here (pdf).

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