New proposal seeks to preserve the farming industry

CHENANGO COUNTY – As the median age of New York farmers continues to climb, state legislators are touting new proposals that address the lack of young people going into the farming business.

Last week, NY Senator James Seward, R-Oneonta, along with other members of the New York State Senate, unveiled the $30 million “Young Farmers NY” plan to address the aging population of farmers and to entice young people to enter the agriculture industry.

Young Farmers NY is in response to recent findings from the United Stated Department of Agriculture. According to the USDA, the average age of farmers now stands at 57 years. That figure has increased steadily since the 2002 USDA Census, when average age of farmers was 55. What’s more, the USDA says for every farmer under the age 35, there are two farmers aged 65 and older.

This continuing trend raises serious concerns for the future of the nation’s food supply, Senator Seward stated in a media release.

“New high tech industries emerge every day, but agriculture persists as New York's economic, social, and environmental binding force,” Seward said. “Helping our next generation of farmers contend with industry-specific hurdles – education, property taxes, and equipment costs – will boost our state's economy and sow the seeds for future growth of our number one industry.”

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