Farmland for a New Generation New York Announces 35 Regional Navigators to Help Bring a New Generation of Farmers onto the Land Across the State
ALBANY, N.Y. – Farmland for a New Generation New York, coordinated by American Farmland Trust in partnership with the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, announces a cohort of 35 new and returning organizations to the statewide network of Regional Navigators. Regional Navigators are land access experts at Cornell Cooperative Extension offices, land trusts and agricultural non-profits who serve as advisors to farmland seekers and landowners across the state. Regional Navigators provide tailored support to farmers and landowners to connect them with each other and any resources they need to find land or keep their land in farming. They will collectively receive $270,000 in grant awards to add capacity for their work.
Launched in October 2018 and funded in the state budget, Farmland for a New Generation New York offers a cohesive suite of information and services for New York farmers and landowners, including a website that hosts farm, farmer, farm job and event listings, training materials and model documents. The program supports a statewide network of Regional Navigators and a first point of contact with American Farmland Trust’s expert staff, including a new bilingual program specialist to assist Spanish-speaking farm seekers and website users directly, in addition to creating written Spanish resources.
These components work together to provide landowners and land seekers crucial one-on-one support throughout the lengthy and complex land transition and access process to ultimately make land available to a New York new generation of farmers. In the past four years, Farmland for a New Generation New York has provided one-on-one support to 4,068 landowners and land seekers, and facilitated 109 matches of farmers to 6,682 acres of land.
Linda Garrett, New York Regional Director, American Farmland Trust, said, “Our mission of saving the land that sustains us cannot reach its full potential if we don’t sustain and grow a new generation of farmers to farm it. Farmland for a New Generation New York works to ensure that farmland isn’t lost in the critical moment of transition when land is most vulnerable to being sold and developed. American Farmland Trust is excited to continue this important partnership with the state of New York and the growing network of Regional Navigators to keep land in farming and farmers on the land, providing benefits to our regional food system and climate that impact all New Yorkers.”
New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “Thanks to our partnership with American Farmland Trust and Farmland for a New Generation New York, New York’s Regional Navigator program is a vital tool to help our current and next generation farmers find new land and keep their land in farming. I’d like to congratulate this year’s returning Regional Navigators and extend a warm welcome to those who are joining the network for the first time – you are a critical part of helping New York’s agricultural industry continue to thrive.”
New York State Senator Michelle Hinchey, Chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, said, “A resilient food system that feeds us, a thriving state agriculture industry that boosts the economy, and protected natural resources rely on farmers having land to farm and steward. The Regional Navigator initiative is one of the most impactful agricultural programs we have in New York because it does the critical work of helping farmers retire while ensuring their land changes hands to the next generation. I was proud to support the expansion of this innovative model through the State Budget, and it remains my priority to see its continued growth so we can keep New York agriculture strong for generations to come.”
New York State Senator Rachel May, Chair of the Legislative Commission on Rural Resources, said, “Our farmlands are critical for the livelihoods of our farmers, resources for our residents, and natural capital that must be available for future generations. It’s reassuring that Farmland for a New Generation has the knowledge and expertise to guarantee that New York State continues its leadership role in the farming industry for generations to come. The 35 new and returning Regional Navigators will further cement that role, and I look forward to the continued success of this vital program.”
New York State Assemblymember Donna Lupardo, Chair of the Assembly Committee on Agriculture, said, “Thanks to Farmland for a New Generation, an expanded network of Regional Navigators will help connect farmers to land, through a variety of needed supports. Their ongoing efforts have resulted in many successful matches, bringing hope for the future of NY agriculture. This partnership with American Farmland Trust, and the Department of Ag & Markets is supported with funding provided in the annual state budget. It is a valuable investment that I will continue to advocate for.”
New York State Assemblymember Carrie Woerner said, “It is obvious that we must support and sustain existing farmers and encourage those who take on this rewarding but often challenging work. Programs such as Farmland for a New Generation are practical and realistic mechanisms to address the very real issue of supporting food security agricultural enterprises in New York state.”
Christa Núñez, Director of Khuba International, said, “The Farmland for a New Generation New York grant has enabled Khuba International’s Quarter Acre for the People project to invest in community engagement and connect systemically marginalized farmers with landowners who wish to partner in the development of new, just food systems in our region. As a result of our work, there is a new relationship budding where a justice-minded landowner is in the process of donating a parcel of land to support a new Black-owned farm cooperative in Tompkins County. We are grateful to be able to rely on American Farmland Trust and Farmland for a New Generation New York to support the vital work of developing viable land, housing, and food systems for the benefit of all.”
Tracy Lerman, Assistant Director of Regional Agriculture at GrowNYC, said, “Our grant from the Farmland for a New Generation program will allow us to continue providing a wide range of services to help aspiring farmers run sound, viable, and profitable farm enterprises, which is a critical part of accessing land and capital to acquire land. We are grateful to American Farmland Trust for believing in our work and in our beginning farmer program participants.”
Renee Bouplon, Executive Director of Agricultural Stewardship Association, said, “ASA greatly appreciates the opportunity to participate in the Regional Navigator program administered by American Farmland Trust. The grant funds support staff time to respond to both new farmers looking for land and retiring farmers hoping to pass their farm operation on to the next generation. One of our goals for 2023 is to identify innovative land tenure opportunities for new farmers with a focus on diversity and equity in land access.”
Diane Held, Executive Director of Cornell Cooperative Extension Erie County, said, “We are thrilled to be part of network that is doing so much to keep farmland in farming. Being in the network has energized our work and brought us fresh perspectives. We’re also really grateful to New York State voters for approving the Environmental Bond Act that supports farmland protection, which goes hand in hand with Regional Navigators’ efforts to keep farmers on the land.”
To learn more about Farmland for a New Generation New York, and to find a Regional Navigator in your area visit www.nyfarmlandfinder.org/regional-navigators or contact the Farmland for a New Generation New York staff at American Farmland Trust for assistance at 1-844-737-6506.
American Farmland Trust is the only national conservation organization dedicated to protecting farmland, promoting environmentally sound farming practices and keeping farmers on the land. Since 1980, AFT’s innovative work has helped to permanently protect more than 6.5 million acres of farmland and ranchland and led the way for the adoption of conservation practices on millions more. No Farms, No Food. Learn more at www.farmland.org.