Sen. Seward and Fellow GOP Call For Increased Support to Maintain Family Farms
State Senate Republicans are pushing for $30 million in state funding to provide incentives for young farmers to continue to grow family farms in New York.
The Republican Conference in the New York State Senate unveiled several proposals yesterday aimed encouraging the next generation of farmers. the proposal includes loans, grants and tax credits for the sale or lease of farmland and equipment, and funding for agricultural education efforts.
Republican Senator Jim Seward said “New high tech industries emerge every day, but agriculture persists as New York’s economic, social, and environmental binding force.
The “Young Farmers NY” initiative is to more easily transfer farmland to the next generation and preserve existing farmland in the state.
The state has lost about 50,000 acres of farmland over each of the past five years. Senators pointed out that the average age of farmers in New York is 57, which shows fewer young people are remaining on the farm or are willing to enter farming as a career.
The proposed package includes $5 million in tax credits for farms, $5 million for startup loans for land and equipment purchases, and another $5 million for tax-free savings accounts toward those purchases.
The initiative also calls for a total of $758,000 in funding to educate students in the agriculture industry. The funding would be used for BOCES and loan programs.
The remaining $14 million is for Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed estate tax reform in the 2014-15 budget, which would increase the state’s estate tax threshold from $1 million to $5.25 million.
Seward says helping the next generation of farmers will boost the state’s economy and sow the seeds for future growth of our number one industry.