Nearly 60 farmers, agribusiness owners and others involved in the agriculture industry accessed information on a variety of funding and loan programs at today’s Agricultural Grant Opportunity Workshop, sponsored by State Senator Patty Ritchie and the Jefferson County Agricultural Development Council.
“From young people just starting their careers to people who have been farmers their entire lives, the group in attendance at today’s workshop was as diverse as the agriculture industry itself,” said Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Senator Patty Ritchie.
“I’m thrilled that along with the Jefferson County Agricultural Development Council, we were able to provide agribusiness owners with vital information they need to expand their businesses, create jobs and benefit the region’s economy as a result of their efforts.”
“Young Farmers NY” Encourages New Generation of Farmers, Strengthens NY’s Leading IndustrySenator Patty Ritchie, Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, today unveiled her “Young Farmers NY” plan to address issues related to the advancing average age of New York farmers and to preserve the future of family farming. The initiative will support and encourage a new generation of farmers and help strengthen the state’s leading industry for decades to come.CLICK HERE TO SEE DETAILS OF THE PLANWATCH VIDEO OF THE STATE CAPITOL PRESS CONFERENCE“Young Farmers NY,” which was announced today at a Capitol news conference, is a series of proposals to smooth the transfer of farmland to the next generation, preserve existing farmland, and help young farmers overcome obstacles to give them a grea
Senator Ritchie’s Weekly Column From the food we eat to the products we use, not a day goes by that we don’t have a farmer to thank for helping to provide life’s necessities. But, what if there weren’t any farmers? As recent research suggests, that’s a question we should be considering. Farming is our state’s most important industry, it’s also a way of life handed down from generation to generation. But as the recent USDA Census of Agriculture depicted, the average New York farmer is changing. According to the report, the average age of New York farmers is 57.1 years, with two farmers aged 65 and older for each one under 35. In addition, the survey also pointed to the fact that roughly 50,000 acres of farmland were lost in New York in each of the past five years.
Snow and cold aside, March is a “sweet” month. That’s because of “Maple Weekend,” an annual celebration held to promote New York’s maple industry. With 2.2 million taps, our state is the nation’s second largest maple producer with plenty of room for growth.During this year’s Maple Weekend, I had the chance to visit with our region’s newest young farmer, Josh Parker. A16 year-old, Josh has set up his own maple sugar operation in St.
“I first had opportunity to meet Richard during the recovery efforts following Hurricane Irene, when he was gracious enough to let me survey the damage sustained at his farm and offered suggestions for how to best help farmers rebound from their losses,” said Senator Patty Ritchie, who chairs the Agriculture Committee.
“I learned then agriculture and helping his fellow farmers succeed are Richard’s passions. I’d like to thank the Governor for making such an excellent appointment to this post and I’m looking forward to working alongside the new Commissioner to help our state’s largest industry continue to grow.”
More vitamins and minerals, protection against diseases such as heart disease and cancer, a lower number on the scale and freshness that is second to none—these are just some of the benefits of eating fruits, vegetables and other foods found at your local farmers market.
Senator Patty Ritchie, chair of the State Senate's Agriculture Committee, is pictured with New York's 51st Dairy Princess, Casey Porter, of Adams Center, during the annual Dairy Parade, held June 6 in downtown Watertown . The 17-year-old, who grew up on a dairy farm and plans to study agriculture this fall at Cornell, was chosen over 24 other contestants at the Coronation event held in Liverpool in February.
Dairy is the centerpiece of New York's $5.7 billion agriculture industry, and New York currently ranks third in the US in dairy production, with 5427 dairy farms--and young farmers, like Casey, will help lead the indutry's growth into the future, Senator Ritchie said.
State Senator Patty Ritchie announced that three bills she’s sponsored to boost farming in New York were approved by the Senate today, and two were sent on to the Governor, the last stop before they become law.
The measures would expand markets for New York farm products, allow farmers to increase their land that’s available for agriculture purposes, and look for ways to boost programs that can help aging farmers who want to stay in business.
“New York’s $5.7 billion agriculture industry is key to our region’s and the state’s economy and I am constantly working to find ways to keep farmers growing,” said Senator Ritchie, who serves as chair of the Senate’s Agriculture Committee.
“These three bills build on—and complement—my earlier legislative efforts to strengthen New York agriculture and help preserve family farming as the backbone of our agricultural industry.”
Request Comes As Governor Proposes Expansion of “Taste NY” Initiative
As Governor Cuomo works to expand “Taste NY”—a program designed to highlight locally grown and produced food and products—Senator Ritchie is urging the placement of a Taste NY retail store at the now-closed Hastings rest area on I-81.
The request comes after the Governor this week proposed an expansion of Taste NY, setting goals to add Taste NY retail stores in strategic locations and triple gross sales of participating vendors in the coming year. In her letter to Governor Cuomo, Senator Ritchie suggests reopening the rest area between exits 32 and 31, which has sat vacant since 2010 and adding a Taste NY retail location in an effort to welcome visitors and highlight local products.
“Heavily traveled by local residents as well as a significant number of Canadian shoppers going to and from Syracuse, I-81 would be a great location for featuring items grown and produced locally including wine, craft beer, maple syrup, fresh produce such as apples and onions, dairy products and so much more,” said Senator Ritchie in her letter.