Farmland for a New Generation New York Celebrates Fifth Anniversary and $270,000 Awarded to Regional Navigators to Accelerate Farmland Access and Farm Transfer 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 38 new and returning organizations to the statewide network of Regional Navigators. These organizations provide tailored support to farmers and landowners to connect them with each other and to resources to find or keep land in farming from generation to generation. They will collectively receive $270,000 in grant awards from state funds 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 farmers and landowners, including a website that hosts farmer and farmland profiles, farm job and event listings, training materials and other resources.
The state funding also supports Regional Navigators partner grants, who have received $1.3 million in partner grants from Farmland for a New Generation New York over the last five years. These grants are crucial to sustaining their ability to work on farmland access and transfer issues, in addition to other education and services they provide as land trusts, Cornell Cooperative Extension offices, organizations serving BIPOC and refugee communities, and other critical roles in New York agriculture.
Every person who creates a profile on the website has a point of contact with American Farmland Trust’s staff, who help them find the resources most fitting to their situation and connect with Regional Navigators for localized support. Spanish users can connect with American Farmland Trust’s bilingual program specialist and receive direct assistance and resources in Spanish.
These components work hand in hand to guide farmland owners and land seekers through the often complicated and lengthy process of transferring a farm, which can be especially difficult for farms without a next generation within their family. In the past five years, Farmland for a New Generation New York has provided one-on-one support to 5,910 landowners and land seekers and facilitated 148 matches of farmers to more than 9,000 acres of land.
Linda Garrett, New York Regional Director, American Farmland Trust, said, “Keeping farmers on the land is critical to the mission of American Farmland Trust, and this statewide partnership has succeeded in bringing more than 130 farmers onto the land in the last five years. But there is so much more to do; more than a third of our state’s farmers are 65 and older and will be transitioning out of farming in the coming years, and access to farmland is one of the greatest barriers for new and beginning farmers. FNG NY facilitates connecting these two groups. American Farmland Trust looks forward to working with the State of New York and our statewide network of Regional Navigators to support farmers in both accessing land to farm and passing it on to a new generation.”
New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “I’m proud of the milestones we have reached in protecting farmland in New York State with more than 113,000 acres of land in New York State now forever dedicated to agriculture. By partnering with American Farmland Trust on critical programs like Farmland for a New Generation New York and the Regional Navigators initiative, we are building on this important work. These programs not only directly connect our existing and new farmers to land opportunities, but they also provide technical assistance to help farmers and landowners in the transfer of farmland, which can be an extremely complex process. The Regional Navigators have already done tremendous work since the program’s launch five years ago and I look forward to their continued success in helping to secure a strong future for agriculture in New York State.”
Senator Michelle Hinchey, Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, said, “Protecting New York farmland and the future of our food supply is greatly dependent on helping the next generation of farmers access land, receive tailored guidance, and enter the industry successfully. The Regional Navigator Program has been instrumental in this effort, connecting available land to new farmers with an important focus on increasing diversity and equity in land access. Growing New York’s network of Regional Navigators is especially important to safeguarding prime food-growing farmland from development pressures as more of our generational farmers look to retire. I’m proud to support the continued expansion of this vital program and thank the 38 new and returning Regional Navigators for working to keep New York Agriculture strong into the future.”
New York State Senator Rachel May, Chair of the Legislative Commission on Rural Resources, said, “Preserving New York’s farmland is vital to our economy, our food systems, and maintaining the character of our rural communities. As farmers reach retirement age and face decisions about the continued stewardship of their land, Farmland for a New Generation’s Regional Navigator is an invaluable resource that connects young, aspiring farmers to our more experienced ones, helping to facilitate the transition of knowledge and to sustain our agricultural lands for generations to come.”
New York State Assemblymember Donna Lupardo, Chair of the Assembly Committee on Agriculture, said, “Farmland for a New Generation has done invaluable work over the years, providing the information and services farmers and landowners need. I’m glad to see that an expanded network of Regional Navigators will keep this important work going. Their efforts have resulted in many successful matches, keeping farmland in agricultural production, and bringing hope for the future of New York agriculture. This ongoing partnership between American Farmland Trust and the Department of Ag & Markets is something I will continue to advocate for during state budget negotiations.”
New York State Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner said, “The results of the Farmland for a New Generation program are significant: facilitating the transfer of over 9,000 acres of farmland to a new generation of farmers – 148 in total. Because of this program, and the strong collaborative efforts of the Regional Navigators and the American Farmland Trust, New York will continue to have a vibrant agriculture industry. I am proud to continue to advocate for this organization’s farmland-saving mission.”
Pat Dunn, Farm Manager, Refugee & Immigrant Self-Empowerment (RISE) said, “As a Regional Navigator Partner, we at RISE will expand programming at our refugee-serving incubator farm to include work connecting our community of farmers to local landowners for the purpose of facilitating micro-scale leasing arrangements. The goal of our program is to provide refugee and immigrant farmers with pathways to operating independent farming ventures. Land access is one of the largest barriers they face, so we are looking forward to directing energy at this specific area of need in 2024.”
Seamus Briody, Conservation Assistant, Saratoga PLAN, said, “Being part of the Farmland for a New Generation New York Regional Navigator program has enabled Saratoga PLAN to enhance the services we provide to farmers and farmland owners. In addition to providing educational workshops and events, this opportunity helps us to provide free, private consultations to landowners and farmers. These consultations are a critical step to the success of farmland conservation and transition work. We’re excited to be a part of this invaluable program and network of organizations working to protect farmland and ensure a thriving agricultural industry.”
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 7.5 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.