Newly 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
A 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).
Thanks to farmers, local government officials and land trusts that met with legislators and executive staff on Tuesday to advocate for increased funding for the purchase of permanent conservation easements on farmland from the state Farmland Protection Program.
The Local Economies Project of the New World Foundation has awarded American Farmland Trust (AFT) a grant of $200,000 to enable the Farm to Institution New York State (FINYS) partnership to create new economic opportunities for New York’s farmers while improving the health of New Yorkers by increasing the amount of locally grown food served in institutions. “The Local Economies Project is proud to continue its support of American Farmland Trust’s FINYS,” said Bob Dandrew of the Local Economies Project. “Getting local food into institutional settings is critical to our health and to the viability of our local farming economy. FINYS is doing an outstanding job of bringing farmers and processors, institutional buyers, and the people they service together to create strong market channels we need for a more resilient food system in New York State.” Read more…
Thomas Ferraro, founder of Foodlink, one of the nation’s first food banks, died on February 11. Tom served on the Farm to Institution New York State (FINYS) Leadership Team. “Tom was a visionary,” said Glenda Neff, FINYS Coordinator for American Farmland Trust. He believed that Foodlink’s assets – its warehouse, kitchens, trucks, and most of all its passionate talented employees, could be used for economic development that would produce jobs, train unemployed in new skills, and create access to healthy local food. “Foodlink as a “local food hub” would, could and has done that.” Those wishing to make a donation in memory of Tom are asked to consider contributing funds to the Foodlink Foundation in his name. Donations can be sent to Foodlink Foundation, PO Box 60766, Rochester, NY 14606.