AFT Applauds State Budget Support for Proven Programs for Farmers that Benefit All New Yorkers
This statement can be attributed to Mikaela Perry, New York Policy Manager for American Farmland Trust:
(Albany, NY) “American Farmland Trust (AFT) applauds Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Senate and Assembly for delivering a state budget that supports proven programs for farmers with benefits for all New Yorkers. New York faces increased development pressure on farmland, impacts from climate change and extreme weather, and a wide-scale intergenerational transition of farmland that places a quarter of New York’s farmland at risk of being lost forever.
On Earth Day 2023, New York celebrated an important milestone of protecting 100,000 acres through the state’s Farmland Protection Implementation Grants program. AFT thanks the Governor and the legislature for maintaining funding for the farmland protection program at $21 million as part of the Environmental Protection Fund, while recognizing that additional funding for this program could support farmers who are ready and waiting to protect another 40,000 acres in the near-term.
The Farmland for a New Generation New York (FNG-NY) program, coordinated by AFT in partnership with the State of New York and a network of Regional Navigators, has helped 125 farmers find land to farm in New York, encompassing more than 8,000 acres. AFT applauds the legislature for securing a strong and vibrant future for our next generation of farmers by maintaining funding for FNG-NY at $500,000 in this year’s state budget and looks forward to working with the legislature in the future to grow this crucial program.
AFT thanks the Governor and legislature for sustaining investments in New York’s Farm to School programs, including $10 million for the Farm to School Reimbursement Program and $1.5 million for the Grants Program, to help schools buy more local food and build resilient local food systems. AFT and members of the New York Grown Food for New York Kids coalition successfully advocated for an increase in the state’s Small Purchase Threshold to better enable more schools to make purchases from local farms. AFT was pleased to see an increase to that threshold to $150,000 this year and hopes to see an increase to match the federal threshold of $250,000 next year.
AFT celebrates the leadership of Governor Hochul, the Senate, and the Assembly for investments that will continue to help New York farms remain viable for generations to come.”
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 6.8 million acres of agricultural lands, advanced environmentally-sound farming practices on millions of additional acres and supported thousands of farm families.