Agriculture in the state will be in an even stronger position to flourish following the success of the 2014 legislative session. In these final days, lawmakers have supported a number of key bills that will benefit every farmer in the long run.
The highlights include the passage of substantial changes to State Liquor Authority laws that will allow craft beverage makers to take advantage of new opportunities to reach customers. Also, counties will now be able to establish smaller agricultural districts of 250 acres, down from 500 acres. This will especially support new farms in more densely populated and suburban areas. Protections from things like eminent domain and nuisance lawsuits are important in communities that are seeing a growing local food network.
New York Farm Bureau is also pleased lawmakers have established a revolving loan program to assist beginning farmers. Accessing the money needed to start up an operation is one of the greatest challenges facing new farmers. This bill will help them climb over that early hurdle.
These successes and others follow what was an especially productive state budget process for farmers. From an increased threshold in the estate tax to more funding for environmental and worker safety programs and critical commodity research, New York agriculture is primed for more growth.
New York Farm Bureau would like to thank Governor Cuomo, Senate Agriculture Chair, Patty Ritchie, and her counterpart in the Assembly, Bill Magee, and their fellow legislators for their hard work this year. Their support recognizes the value of New York's farmers and contribution each family makes in providing local food, jobs, and economic support for their rural communities.
Moving forward, New York Farm Bureau will continue to advocate for the nearly 36,000 farms in this state, and make sure lawmakers understand the decisions they make in Albany have far reaching implications for the food system and rural economies upstate and on Long Island," said Dean Norton, New York Farm Bureau president.