The National Young Farmers Coalition, together with its five New York chapters, New York Farm Bureau, American Farmland Trust, and land trusts from around the state, celebrates Governor Andrew Cuomo for signing the Working Farm Protection Act into law. The Act recently passed the New York State Legislature unanimously with support from lead sponsors Assemblymember Didi Barrett (D-106) and Senator Patty Ritchie (R-48), along with 63 co-sponsors in the Assembly and Senate.
The Working Farm Protection Act helps address farmland access by making working farm easements permanently eligible for funding through the State’s Farmland Protection Implementation Grant (FPIG) program. Working farm easements include farmer ownership and affordability provisions such as preemptive purchase rights, which help keep protected farmland affordable and in the hands of farmers.
The state’s 35,500 farms keep over 7 million acres of land in agricultural production, support more than 160,000 jobs, and generate more than $39 billion annually. The State has protected more than 61,000 acres of agricultural land through the FPIG program since 1996, a legacy that Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets have built on by allocating historic levels of funding — including targeted funds for farmland protection in the Hudson Valley and on dairy farms in the state — and improving project implementation.
By signing the Working Farm Protection Act into law, the Governor is taking a major step forward in protecting the future of New York’s valuable agricultural lands and the people who steward them.
“The Working Farm Protection Act is about one thing — standing with farmers. We can no longer assume that protecting farmland will also protect the people who work it,” says Lindsey Lusher Shute, Executive Director of the National Young Farmers Coalition and co-owner of Hearty Roots Community Farm in Clermont. “This bill is an important step towards making New York State farmland affordable for working farmers. We are grateful for the Governor’s support, and the leadership of Assemblymember Barrett and Senator Ritchie.”