AFT Applauds New York State Budget for Dedicating Record Funds to Support a New Generation of Farmers - American Farmland Trust

We’ve detected that you are using an outdated browser.

Please use a new browser like Chrome, Firefox, Safari or Microsoft Edge to improve your experience.

We’ve detected that you are using an outdated browser.

American Farmland Trust Applauds New York State Budget for Dedicating Record Funds to Support a New Generation of Farmers

Albany, NY—American Farmland Trust (AFT) applauds Gov. Kathy Hochul and the New York State legislature for passing a final state budget that supports a vibrant future for agriculture across the state. As challenges of climate change, pressures from development, and increasing intergenerational farm transition shape the state’s agricultural landscape, New York continues to safeguard critical resources to support farmers, protect farmland, and create a resilient local food system.

Since the inception of the New York State Farmland Protection Program in 1992, New York has permanently protected over 100,000 acres of farmland. AFT thanks the governor and legislature for funding this critical program at $21 million as part of a $400 million Environmental Protection Fund and looks forward to the continued efforts of land trusts working across the state to protect farmland for the future. AFT also applauds Gov. Hochul and the legislature for amending legislation to ensure that Bond Act funding can be used for conservation easements. Because of this language adjustment, the state has made the $150 million allocated to farmland protection in the Bond Act accessible.

The Farmland for a New Generation (FNG-NY) program, coordinated by AFT in partnership with the State of New York and a network of Regional Navigators, has helped nearly 150 farmers find land to farm in New York, while supporting retiring farmers with farm succession planning to keep more than 9,000 acres in production. Celebrating its five-year anniversary, the FNG-NY program has expanded to serve both English- and Spanish-speaking farmers through one-on-one technical assistance and translated written materials. AFT applauds the legislature for securing a strong and vibrant future for our next generation of farmers by increasing funding for FNG-NY to $700,000 in this year’s state budget, a record appropriation that will support both retiring farmers and new and beginning farmers across our state.

AFT thanks the governor and legislature for sustaining investments in New York’s Farm to School programs, including $10 million for the 30 percent Farm to School Reimbursement Program and $1.5 million for the Farm to School Grants Program, to help schools buy more local food and build resilient local food systems. AFT applauds the governor and legislature for codifying the 30 percent Farm to School Reimbursement Program into law, ensuring that schools will continue to receive a reimbursement for local food purchasing regardless of future shifts in child nutrition programs. This codification demonstrates New York state’s commitment to resilient, local food systems, providing fresh, local foods to children in K-12 schools across the state while also supporting New York farmers and bolstering the agricultural economy.

Mikaela Perry, New York Policy Manager, American Farmland Trust, said, “American Farmland Trust applauds state law makers for dedicating funding to proven programs that benefit farmers, farmland, and communities across the state. We especially celebrate the legislature for increasing funding for the Farmland for a New Generation New York program that helps retiring farmers and landowners connect with a diverse new generation of land stewards. We thank Gov. Hochul and the legislature for restoring critical funding for Farmland Protection and for the state’s 30 percent Farm to School Reimbursement Incentive and Grants Programs. This continued support will bolster the state’s agricultural economy at a time when development pressure, climate change, and intergenerational transition threatens our state’s farmland, the pillar of a resilient local food supply, in unprecedented ways. AFT applauds Gov. Hochul, the Senate, and the Assembly for continuing to invest in these critical programs that will strengthen the future for farming in New York for generations to come.”

New York State Senator, Michelle Hinchey, Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, said, “New York is an Agriculture State, and the investments we’ve delivered in this year’s budget to protect prime farmland, make land access more equitable for a diverse community of new and beginning farmers, and expand local food access are essential to keeping New York an Agriculture State decades into the future. I thank AFT for championing many of these critical programs and for their strong advocacy to preserve New York farms for the future generations who will grow our food and steward the land.”

New York State Assemblywoman, Donna Lupardo, Chair of the Assembly Agriculture Committee, said, “Agriculture has always been a cornerstone of the state’s economy, and I’m very proud of the work we have done to support the industry in the final budget. Together, we were able to secure funding that will help preserve prime farmland, support a new and diverse generation of New York farmers, and strengthen local food systems across the state. As always, I appreciate American Farmland Trust’s consistent and strong advocacy on behalf of New York’s farms.”

New York State Senator, Rachel May, Chair of the Legislative Commission on Rural Resources, said, “The New York State Budget shows a commitment to New York farmers and an investment for the future of New York State agriculture. We fought for an increase for “Farmland for a New Generation” because we want to encourage that those who want to farm, get the opportunity to do so. My congratulations to American Farmland Trust and my gratitude for their advocacy for New York farms.”

New York State Assemblywoman, Carrie Woerner, said, “Programs such as New York State Farmland Protection, Farmland for a New Generation New York, and New York’s Farm to School positively impact nearly every aspect of our state; its land, its families, its food supply, its schools and its businesses. Therefore, as an early legislative sponsor of these agriculture policies and grants, I am delighted by the continued support of AFT and the growth of its program funding.”

Troy Weldy, President of Columbia Land Conservancy, said, “The Columbia Land Conservancy is grateful for the passage of this year’s State budget. This funding will help us further our work to bring people together to conserve, appreciate, and enjoy land. Thanks to the Farmland for a New Generation New York and the Farmland Protection Implementation Grant programs, we are able to support beginning farmers looking to purchase farmland, those who are interested in conservation-minded land management, and local farmers looking to preserve their farms for future generations.”

Anu Rangarajan, Program Director for Cornell Small Farms, said, “The Cornell Small Farms Program (CSFP) is pleased to be partnering with AFT to support diverse farming communities. Our work as a regional navigator aims to increase access of the FNG-NY resources by empowering BIPOC farmers, especially Latino/a/x farmers through our Futuro en Ag project. Through FNG-NY, we have helped connect these Spanish-first farmers with additional resources and support. Our goal is to see an increase in the number of farms owned and operated by Latino/a/x farmers in the next USDA census.”

Tracy Lerman, Assistant Director for Regional Agriculture at GrowNYC, said, “GrowNYC applauds Gov. Hochul for increasing funding for the Farmland for a New Generation program. As Regional Navigators in this program, we are able to provide culturally competent technical assistance to farmers in our network, more than 10% of whom speak Spanish, to help them run successful farm businesses. We look forward to continuing our partnership with AFT and the other Regional Navigators to keep New York State farmers thriving.”

Francis Yu, Co-Executive Director of Catskills Agrarian Alliance, said, “Catskills Agrarian Alliance (CAA) has a mission of protecting and promoting the right of all people to healthy, culturally-appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, as well as by supporting our right to define our own food systems. As farmland becomes increasingly out of reach for a new generation of farmers and land stewards, equitable land access is a critical part of a just food system—particularly for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, and other marginalized communities who have historically been barred from land access and opportunities. CAA commends American Farmland Trust’s efforts for equitable land access, particularly through the Farmland for a New Generation (FNG-NY) program, in close partnership with the State of New York. We applaud the State of New York for its continued commitment in securing the resources, funding, and support needed to make equitable land access possible.”


American Farmland Trust is the only national organization that takes a holistic approach to agriculture, focusing on the land itself, the agricultural practices used on that land, and the farmers and ranchers who do the work. AFT launched the conservation agriculture movement and continues to raise public awareness through our No Farms, No Food message. Since our founding in 1980, AFT has helped permanently protect over 7.8 million acres of agricultural lands, advanced environmentally-sound farming practices on millions of additional acres and supported thousands of farm families.


About the Author
Olivia Fuller

New York Communications Manager


Read Bio