Last week, Governor Cuomo released his proposed 2015-16 State Budget. The Governor’s 2015 Opportunity Agenda is big – literally – more than 550 pages and proposes in excess of $141 billion in state spending.
In it, is big news for the state’s farm and food economy and every New Yorker that cares about their food and where it comes from. Governor Cuomo has proposed to make the state’s largest investment ever in permanently protecting farmland – placing New York in the Top Five in America in state funding for a Farmland Protection Program.
Investing in New York’s Farm and Food Economy
The connection between Governor Cuomo’s proposed capital investment in protecting farmland and New York’s economy is pretty simple. New York is a farm state that is packed with 19 million eaters, and millions more people just beyond our borders. For generations, New York’s economy has been tied with growing, processing, distributing and selling food and other farm products. Farmers hit a record high with nearly $5.7 billion in sales of farm products in 2013.
For many farmers, their farm is one of their largest assets. But, it’s fixed in the ground – literally! Farmers often feel compelled to sell their farm to make money for retirement or other family needs. The state’s Farmland Protection Program gives farmers an alternative by enabling farmers to sell their development rights – essentially to permanently protect their land for farming and other compatible uses. Read More
Laura Ten Eyck, Senior Manager of New York Projects and Outreach for American Farmland Trust, testified about the important role state farmland protection funding plays in the transfer of land to the next generation of farmers in New York. The testimony was presented to the New York State Assembly Standing Committee on Agriculture last Friday at a public hearing on the oversight of the SFY 2014-2015 State Budget for the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets.
New York State Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard Ball encouraged institutions in the Hudson Valley to “take advantage of the abundant agricultural products grown and produced in New York in providing meals to their customers,” at the Hudson Valley Farm to Institution Summit held at SUNY New Paltz on October 16. “This Summit helps connect schools, markets, hospitals and other institutions with our state’s world class agricultural producers, while providing an opportunity for New York agriculture to expand its range of business,” said Commissioner Ball.
David Haight, New York State Director for American Farmland Trust said, “Millions of New Yorkers are fed meals each year by institutions – from school children, to college students and seniors. Encouraging these institutions to buy more food produced in New York creates markets for local farmers and benefits eaters too. This Summit is bringing together community leaders from across the Hudson Valley to talk about the greatest challenges and opportunities for scaling up the farm to institution movement in the region.” Read More
University and college students across New York State will celebrate National Food Day tomorrow with the inaugural NY Campus Crunch, taking a collective bite out of apples grown on New York State farms in demonstration of their support for serving locally grown food in campus cafeterias.
“Why is it important to eat local?” asks Radha Urribarri, a sophomore at the University at Albany, where students bit into apples grown on Yonder Farms in Valatie, and Indian Ladder Farms in Altamont, New York. Many students are looking for ways to reduce their environmental impact and consuming locally produced food lowers your carbon footprint by decreasing the amount of miles the food is transported. In addition, purchasing local food supports your community and economy plus it tastes better.” Read More
Warwick, New York, October 9, 2014 — With roughly 30 percent of Hudson Valley farmland managed by farmers over age 65, a significant amount of farmland must be transferred to the next generation of farmers or lost forever to real estate development. The newly launched Hudson Valley Farmlink Network will offer resources for senior farmers, next generation farmers, and landowners to help keep the region’s farmland in agricultural production.
Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney applauded the Hudson Valley Farmlink Network today on his visit to Wright Family Farm in Warwick, NY, co-hosted by Orange County Land Trust, a local Hudson Valley Farmlink Network partner. Read More