Senator Young Discusses Agriculture on “Your Voice”

 
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Legislative Update

Senator Young recently appeared on the Senate TV program “Your Voice” to discuss the huge importance of agriculture to our region and state.

Our farms and agriculture industry are the backbone of our economy, contributing more than $5.4 billion to our state every year, and few work harder or face greater challenges than our dedicated farmers.

Since her election to the State Assembly in 1998, and the State Senate in 2005, supporting and promoting agriculture has always been among Senator Young’s highest priorities. The dairy and crop industries, including maple, apple, and wine and grapes, among others, are all crucial to the economy and health of our state.

She also discussed the “Young Farmers NY” initiative, a plan laid out by Senator Young and her Upstate Senate colleagues to help young farmers meet the challenges of the high costs of land, equipment, and utilities, as well as burdensome taxes.

With the average New York farmer 57 years old, there is a tremendous need for more young people to get involved in farming and carry on this strong tradition in our state.

The growing reliance on innovative technologies in modern farming also makes advanced training and expertise increasingly important, especially for young farmers attempting to start a career in agriculture.

There will always be dedicated men and women who are willing to work hard to provide the safe, fresh, and local food supply people want, but the challenges and obstacles faced by today’s farmers are making it increasingly difficult for young aspiring farmers to break into the business.

“Young Farmers NY” includes common sense steps that will help preserve the future of small family farming in our state and support those aspiring farmers who are ready and willing to be our state’s next generation of agricultural leaders.

Here’s how:

LAND OWNERSHIP

The biggest single obstacle for farmers just starting out is the high costs of land, equipment, and supplies. “Young Farmers NY” includes a combination of tax credits to encourage existing farmers to keep their land in production, rather than selling to developers; innovation grants for new farmers; a revolving loan fund for the purchase of land and equipment; and tax-free Farm Savings Accounts (similar to an IRA or college savings fund) for the purchase of farmland or equipment.

ESTATE TAX REFORM

The plan also calls for reforms to New York’s estate tax, which hits thousands of family-owned, mom and pop operations and family farms with massive tax bills. By increasing the estate tax exemption so that it no longer includes these small businesses, we can provide much-needed relief to family farmers who want to pass their farm down from generation to generation.

AG EDUCATION

Modern farming also relies on technology and cutting-edge innovation to improve production, cut costs, and boost profits, making a quality education a critical part of successful farming. “Young Farmers NY” would establish apprenticeship programs with successful working farmers, a student loan forgiveness program for agriculture degree graduates who agree to work full-time in agriculture in New York, and increased funding for the in-school Future Farmers of America (FFA) program, which introduces young people to farming.

For more information and details on the “Young Farmers NY” plan, click here.

Working to relieve the heavy tax burden faced by farmers, reform the burdensome regulations that stand in the way of growth and productivity, and prioritize valuable programs that are important to farmers has always been one of Senator Young’s primary missions.