Senate Okays Farm Relief Bill

William J. Larkin, Jr.

May 22, 2007

Senator Bill Larkin (R-C, Cornwall-on-Hudson) today announced the State Senate has passed a bill that would provide relief to farmers from the high costs and red tape a new state regulation could potentially cause them.

The bill (S.3022) would exempt permanent farm buildings on working farms from the state's property maintenance code, which would subject barns and other farm structures to various new and unprecedented inspections. Currently, agricultural buildings are already exempt from the state's building code. The bill simply extends that existing exemption to other agriculture-related buildings.

"The reason for the property maintenance code was to ensure that buildings like commercial offices and residential dwellings were safe and not allowed to deteriorate," said Senator Larkin. "But the law was never meant to be a burden to farmers. For example, if the property maintenance code was applied to barns they couldn't store hay because it is a flammable substance. It doesn’t make sense to enforce the same restrictions on barns and silos and other farm buildings that we do on other types of properties. This bill recognizes that difference."

The bill also provides mandate relief for counties and towns, which would otherwise have to perform the inspections required under the code.

It is supported by the New York State Farm Bureau.

The bill has been passed by both the Senate and the Assembly and will be sent to the Governor.