The New York State Senate today gave final passage to a measure that would help make it easier to become a farmer for people new to the profession. The bill (S7011A), sponsored by Senator Patty Ritchie (R-C-I, Heuvelton), makes more potential farmland available to new farmers by creating an inventory of state lands that could be purchased or leased for agricultural purposes.
Senator Ritchie, Chair of the Senate’s Agriculture Committee, said, “This year we have made great strides in not only strengthening the connection between consumers who are increasingly looking to eat local - and healthy - foods, but also in fostering new opportunities for people who are looking to enter into agriculture careers and produce the nutritious fruits, vegetables and other products people depend on. These measures take us closer to our goals of strengthening New York’s leading industry, and providing a boost for farmers - both new and experienced - across our state.”
The bill requires the state to develop an inventory of state-owned property that could be available for agricultural development, making it easier for those new to the industry to access land that’s ready to be farmed. In addition, the state is directed to provide advice regarding taxes, financial assistance, and other policies and programs that could address the needs of beginning farmers and issues related to the transfer of ownership of farms.
The Senate today passed another bill (S6648), also sponsored by Senator Ritchie, to create the Buy From the Backyard Act to encourage the purchasing of “Grown in New York” products. It requires state agencies to purchase at least 20 percent of their food and food products from within New York State. The measure would get more products grown, harvested, or produced in the state into our state’s hospitals, colleges, offices, prisons and other places, as well as to help further boost the agricultural industry.