Relates to creating a small farm modernization fund program and a small farm modernization fund.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the state finance law, in relation to a small farm modernization revolving loan fund
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS::
Section 1 Amends the State Finance Law by adding a new section 97-u, creating the "small farm modernization revolving loan fund," under the joint custody of the State Comptroller and the Commissioner of the Department of Taxation and Finance. Funding will be through appropriation not to exceed $5 million.
Loans of up to $25,000 are to be made from the fund to small farmer owners, upon the audit and warrant of the State Comptroller, for the sole purpose of small farm modernization.The farm owner must provide a written statement from the Department of Agriculture and Markets verifying that such farm constitutes a small farm, and reasonable written assurances of repayment that is satisfactory to the comptroller. Any loans provided from the fund shall bear interest at a below-market rate and repayment of such loan may be prorated over the term of the expected or renewal contract, provided the term of the loan does not exceed three years.
Within 90 days of the law's enactment, comptroller will promulgate rules and regulations for the operation of the fund. Such regulations must include, but not be limited to, the procedure and any necessary information that small farm owners need to submit in connection with an application for a loan from the small farm revolving loan fund; a schedule for reviewing such applications, not to exceed thirty days, and notification to an applicant of approval or disapproval of such application, and any other requirements deemed necessary by the state comptroller.
Section 2 establishes an effective date of 180 days after becoming law.
JUSTIFICATION:: After a 70-year drop in numbers, small farms are beginning to make a comeback. For decades, the number of farmers has been shrinking as a share of the population, but the last Agricultural Census in 2007 showed a 4 percent increase in the number of farms. It is the first increase since 1920, and in many cases, young people and college graduates are joining in the return to the land. Behind this trend to a large degree is the appeal of locally grown and specialty produce, filling a niche that larger farms geared to national and international markets have left open for exploitation.
But while there has been an increase in promoting locally grown food, New York's small farmers still struggle to get a foothold in this promising new market.While start-up costs for the smallest operations can still be daunting, the difference between success and failure can be a matter of modernization that leads to greater productivity. The Small Farm Modernization Revolving Loan Fund will feature low interest loans of up to $25,000 to help small farms modernize, purchase new equipment, or expand the amount of crops planted.
EXISTING LAW:: None.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:: New Bill.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:: $5 million.
EFFECTIVE DATE:: 180 days after becoming law.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 4520 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE April 8, 2013 ___________Introduced by Sen. TKACZYK -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Finance AN ACT to amend the state finance law, in relation to a small farm modernization revolving loan fund THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The state finance law is amended by adding a new section 97-u to read as follows: S 97-U. SMALL FARM MODERNIZATION REVOLVING LOAN FUND. 1. THERE IS HEREBY ESTABLISHED IN THE JOINT CUSTODY OF THE COMPTROLLER AND THE COMMISSIONER OF TAXATION AND FINANCE A FUND TO BE KNOWN AS THE SMALL FARM MODERNIZATION REVOLVING LOAN FUND. SUCH FUND SHALL CONSIST OF MONEYS MADE AVAILABLE PURSUANT TO APPROPRIATION NOT TO EXCEED FIVE MILLION DOLLARS AND ANY OTHER SOURCES IN ORDER TO PROVIDE SUPPORT FOR MODERNIZATION OF SMALL FARMS. 2. MONEYS OF THE FUND MAY BE EXPENDED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THIS SECTION. MONEYS SHALL BE PAID OUT OF THE FUND ON THE AUDIT AND WARRANT OF THE STATE COMPTROLLER PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION. 3. THE STATE COMPTROLLER IS AUTHORIZED TO PROVIDE LOANS FROM THIS FUND TO ANY SMALL FARM OWNER IN RECEIPT OF A WRITTEN STATEMENT FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AND MARKETS INDICATING THAT SUCH PERSON'S FARM CONSTITUTES A SMALL FARM. THE STATE COMPTROLLER MAY PROVIDE SUCH A LOAN TO A SMALL FARM OWNER UPON RECEIPT OF A WRITTEN AGREEMENT PROVIDING REASONABLE ASSURANCES OF REPAYMENT THAT IS SATISFACTORY TO THE COMP- TROLLER. SUCH LOAN SHALL BEAR INTEREST AT A BELOW-MARKET RATE AND REPAY- MENT OF SUCH LOAN MAY BE PRORATED OVER THE TERM OF THE EXPECTED OR RENEWAL CONTRACT, PROVIDED THE TERM OF THE LOAN DOES NOT EXCEED THREE YEARS. THE AMOUNT OF EACH SUCH LOAN SHALL NOT EXCEED TWENTY-FIVE THOU- SAND DOLLARS. 4. THE STATE COMPTROLLER SHALL ONLY MAKE LOANS AFTER FINDING THAT THE SMALL FARM OWNER WILL USE THE FUNDS EXCLUSIVELY FOR THE PURPOSE OFEXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD09997-02-3 S. 4520 2
MODERNIZING HIS OR HER FARM. THE COMPTROLLER SHALL ESTABLISH ACCEPTABLE FORMS OF PROOF THAT A SMALL FARM OWNER MAY SUBMIT TO BE ELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE A LOAN PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION. 5. THE STATE COMPTROLLER SHALL PROMULGATE RULES AND REGULATIONS WITHIN NINETY DAYS OF THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THIS SECTION FOR THE OPERATION OF THE SMALL FARM MODERNIZATION REVOLVING LOAN FUND WHICH SHALL INCLUDE, BUT NOT BE LIMITED TO, THE PROCEDURE AND ANY NECESSARY INFORMATION THAT SMALL FARM OWNERS NEED TO SUBMIT IN CONNECTION WITH AN APPLICATION FOR A LOAN FROM THE SMALL FARM MODERNIZATION REVOLVING LOAN FUND; A SCHEDULE FOR REVIEWING SUCH APPLICATIONS, NOT TO EXCEED THIRTY DAYS, AND NOTIFI- CATION TO AN APPLICANT OF APPROVAL OR DISAPPROVAL OF SUCH APPLICATION, AND ANY OTHER REQUIREMENTS DEEMED NECESSARY BY THE STATE COMPTROLLER. 6. ANY SMALL FARM OWNER RECEIVING A LOAN FROM THE SMALL FARM MODERN- IZATION REVOLVING LOAN FUND SHALL BE INELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE INTEREST OR ADVANCE PAYMENTS FROM A STATE AGENCY. S 2. This act shall take effect on the one hundred eightieth day after it shall have become a law.