Senator Luis Sepúlveda and the Senate Majority Advance Legislation to Support New York’s Farmers

(Albany, NY) Today, Senator Luis Sepúlveda and the Senate Democratic Majority passed a package of legislation that aims to support farmers and food producers around New York State. The bills passed establish the Office of Urban Agriculture to support urban farming, expand the definition of land use in agricultural production, establish a farming hotline to help connect farmers to resources to expand their farming operations, create procurement goals for New York State products purchased by state agencies, expand regional farmers’ markets, and establish carbon farming tax credits. 

Senator Sepúlveda said: Today marks a significant step forward for New York's agricultural community. By advancing this comprehensive package of legislation, we're not only championing the hard work of our farmers and food producers but also paving the way for a more sustainable and resilient food system in our state. These measures, from establishing the Office of Urban Agriculture to creating carbon farming tax credits, are designed to bolster our local economies, promote environmental stewardship, and ensure that our agricultural sector continues to thrive. I am proud to stand with the Senate Democratic Majority in our commitment to supporting New York's farmers, fostering innovation, and contributing to a healthier future for all New Yorkers.

The legislation passed by the Senate Democratic Majority includes:

  • Agricultural Land Use:This bill, S1056-A, sponsored by Senator Michelle Hinchey expands the definition of "land used in agricultural production" to allow start-up, beginning, and small farms that are in production of the sale of crops, livestock or livestock products to receive an agricultural assessment if the farm is able to establish they have the ability to meet the currently required annual gross sales value within a certain timeframe. This bill provides these farmers an opportunity to receive this tax benefit, protect their land, and connect them with the resources needed to ensure success. 
  • Farming Hotline: This bill, S2236, sponsored by Senator Michelle Hinchey would establish a farming hotline with the Cornell Cooperative Extension. This would serve as a one stop hotline to connect farmers with information and support on needs, including, tax credit programs, beginning farmer loans, and sustainable practices.
  • Procurement Goals for New York State: This bill, S3125, sponsored by Senator Michelle Hinchey would establish procurement goals for New York State food products purchased by state agencies which will incentivize these agencies to strengthen and expand local farm and food economies throughout the state.
  • Farm Ownership Succession Planning Program: This bill, S2407, sponsored by Senator Jamaal Bailey would establish the farm ownership succession planning program to provide farm owners with a succession planning toolkit that can be used by such farm owners who plan on selling or closing their farm.
  • The Office of Urban Agriculture: This bill, S2415, sponsored by Senator Jamaal Bailey would establish an Office of Urban Agriculture to assist with and promote various forms of urban farming throughout the state. This office would support and help facilitate various efforts to create and uphold urban agriculture structures around New York.
  • Agricultural Representation on the State Fire Prevention and Building Code Council: This bill, S1218-B, sponsored by Senator Leroy Comrie would require that one member, appointed by the governor, to the State Fire Prevention and Building Council shall represent agricultural producers.
  • Expansion of Regional Farmers' Markets: This bill, S1365, sponsored by Senator Tim Kennedy directs the Department of Agriculture and Markets to increase the number of regional farmers' markets for the direct marketing of foods and produce in the state.
  • Interstate and Intrastate Cider Shipment: This bill, S1999, sponsored by Senator Rachel May would allow both intrastate shipment of hard cider in New York and interstate shipment to New York by cideries located in states that afford the same treatment to New York cideries.
  • Carbon Farming Tax Credit For Farmers: This bill, S4270, sponsored by Senator Kevin Parker establishes a tax credit for farmers who maximize carbon sequestration potential through a "carbon farming" land management strategy and directs the Department of Environmental Conservation to develop regulations related to certifying the amount of carbon sequestered or emissions reduced. This would create a new financial incentive for land management practices undertaken by farmers which help improve soil health and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, making New York a leader in promoting new agricultural strategies that combat climate change.
  • New York Healthy Incentive Program: This bill, S3069-A, sponsored by Senator Roxanne J. Persaud establishes a framework to implement a statewide New York Healthy Incentive Program (NYHIP) to incentivize fresh and healthy food purchases using SNAP benefits and increase local investments in farms and farm-to-consumer entities.

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