Senator Patrick M. Gallivan (R-C-I, Elma) announces a bill (S.3873A) he co-sponsored in the NYS Senate to authorize Boards of Cooperative Education Services, or BOCES, to establish agriculture apprentice programs has been signed into law by the governor. The programs are intended to encourage young farmers to consider careers in agriculture, which is New York's leading industry.
"It is in the best interest of New York State and its residents to ensure our agricultural industry remains strong by recruiting the next generation of farmers," Senator Gallivan said. "These programs will introduce students and young farmers to the many agriculture-related career opportunities that exist in the industry and the important role that farmers play in providing high quality food and beverages to families around the world."
The average age of farm operators in New York is 59, and is expected to continue to increase unless steps are taken to reverse this trend. The U.S. Secretary of Agriculture has set a goal of recruiting 100,000 new farmers across the country to replace those who are retiring. A young farmer apprentice program under the direction of BOCES will also help keep New York's agricultural lands in production and prevent the loss of other agricultural-related businesses.
The legislation allows BOCES to establish these programs based upon local interest and with approval of the BOCES board.
The bill was passed by the Senate and the Assembly earlier this year and signed by the governor last week.