Relates to access to viable agricultural land for new and beginning farmers.
Ayes (36): DeFrancisco, Bonacic, Farley, Flanagan, Golden, Griffo, Grisanti, Hannon, Lanza, Larkin, LaValle, Little, Marcellino, Nozzolio, O'Mara, Ranzenhofer, Robach, Savino, Seward, Young, Valesky, Martins, Krueger, Diaz, Dilan, Rivera, Gianaris, Breslin, Montgomery, Parker, Peralta, Perkins, Stavisky, Squadron, Kennedy, Hassell-Thompson
Nays (1): Espaillat
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the agriculture and markets law and the public lands law, in relation to access to viable agricultural land for new and beginning farmers
PURPOSE: To direct the Commissioner of the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets to enhance access to viable agricultural land for new and beginning farmers and would direct the Commissioner of the Office of General Services to work with the Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets to develop an inventory of state-owned real property that may be viable for farming.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: This bill would amend the Agriculture and Markets Law to:
- add a new subdivision 2-d to aid in efforts supporting the successful transfer of viable agricultural land from existing owners to new owners and operators, especially beginning farmers;
- amend subdivision 5 of section 309 to require the Agriculture Advisory Council to provide guidance regarding tax, financial assistance and other policies and programs that could address the needs of new farmers to the Commissioner and State agencies;
- amend section 323 to require the Commissioner to report to the Governor and the Legislature on efforts to enhance access to viable agricultural land for new and beginning farmers;
- add a new section 329-a requiring the Department to collect and compile information about both public and private lands available for purchase or leasing for farming, and make such information available on its internet website.
The bill would amend section 2 of the Public Lands Law to:
- add a new subdivision 2-a directing the Commissioner of the Office of General Services to work with the Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets to develop an inventory of available land for farming;
- add a new subdivision 2-b requiring the Commissioner of the Office of General Services to report to the Governor and the Legislature within one year of the effective date on issues related to selling state lands for farming; and,
- add a new subdivision 3-a directing the Commissioner of the Office of General Services to work with other state agencies to identify land that may be viable for farming.
JUSTIFICATION: The most recent federal census of agriculture in 2007 found that the average age of farmers in New York State is about 56, up from 50 in the early 1980s. Facing that reality, the U,.S. Secretary of Agriculture has set a goal of recruiting 100,000 new farmers across the country to replace those that are retiring. Farming is a difficult business; several factors, such as the complex process of transferring ownership of farms and prohibitive capital costs, contribute to the aging of the farm population and present barriers to
younger farmers gaining access to land. There is increasing interest by young people hoping to find viable land they can farm. Trends in the marketplace such as the recent growth in Greek yogurt and other dairy processors, and increased demand for locally grown foods and beverages from consumers, foodservice businesses and institutions, highlight the importance of assisting new farmers starting out.
This bill would emphasize assistance for new and beginning farmers in existing state law. For example, it would require the State's Agriculture Advisory Council to provide advice to State agencies regarding tax, financial assistance and other policies and programs that could address the needs of beginning farmers and the issues they face related to the transfer of ownership of farms. It would also encourage the identification of properties owned by the State that are viable for farming and could be sold or leased for farming. This bill will also promote information among those interested in purchasing or leasing those properties.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: This is a new bill.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: Undetermined.
EFFECTIVE DATE: Immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 5377--A 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE May 16, 2013 ___________Introduced by Sen. RITCHIE -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Agriculture -- recommitted to the Committee on Agriculture in accordance with Senate Rule 6, sec. 8 -- committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee AN ACT to amend the agriculture and markets law and the public lands law, in relation to access to viable agricultural land for new and beginning farmers THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Section 16 of the agriculture and markets law is amended by adding a new subdivision 2-d to read as follows: 2-D. AID IN EFFORTS SUPPORTING THE SUCCESSFUL TRANSFER OF VIABLE AGRI- CULTURAL LAND FROM EXISTING OWNERS TO NEW OWNERS AND OPERATORS, ESPE- CIALLY BEGINNING FARMERS. S 2. Subdivision 5 of section 309 of the agriculture and markets law, as added by chapter 79 of the laws of 1980, is amended to read as follows: 5. The advisory council on agriculture shall advise the commissioner and other state agency heads on state government plans, policies and programs affecting farming and the agricultural industry of this state INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, ADVICE REGARDING TAX, FINANCIAL ASSIST- ANCE AND OTHER POLICIES AND PROGRAMS THAT COULD ADDRESS THE NEEDS OF BEGINNING FARMERS AND ISSUES RELATED TO TRANSFER OF OWNERSHIP OF FARMS. Concerned state agencies shall be encouraged to establish a working relationship with the council and shall fully cooperate with the council in any requests it shall make. S 3. Subdivision 6 of section 323 of the agriculture and markets law, as amended by chapter 150 of the laws of 2013, is amended to read as follows:EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD10980-02-4 S. 5377--A 2
6. reporting biennially to the governor and the legislature regarding the activities of the commissioner, INCLUDING EFFORTS TO ENHANCE ACCESS TO VIABLE AGRICULTURAL LAND FOR NEW AND BEGINNING FARMERS, the types of technical assistance rendered to county agricultural and farmland protection boards, municipalities, soil and water conservation districts and not-for-profit conservation organizations, and the need to protect the state's agricultural economy and land resources. S 4. The agriculture and markets law is amended by adding a new section 329-a to read as follows: S 329-A. FARMLAND AVAILABILITY INFORMATION. 1. THE DEPARTMENT SHALL COLLECT AND COMPILE INFORMATION ABOUT PUBLIC LAND THAT IS VIABLE FOR FARMING AND IS AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE OR LEASE FOR FARMING AND MAKE AVAILABLE SUCH INFORMATION, INCLUDING CONTACT INFORMATION FOR THE OFFICE OF GENERAL SERVICES, OTHER STATE AGENCIES, MUNICIPALITIES, AND OTHER GOVERNMENTAL ENTITIES OFFERING SUCH LAND, ON ITS INTERNET WEBSITE. THE DEPARTMENT SHALL PROVIDE GUIDANCE AND ASSISTANCE TO THE OFFICE OF GENER- AL SERVICES, OTHER STATE AGENCIES, MUNICIPALITIES AND OTHER GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS THAT REQUEST SUCH ASSISTANCE, IN IDENTIFYING LAND THAT IS VIABLE FOR FARMING. 2. THE DEPARTMENT MAY ALSO MAKE AVAILABLE SIMILAR INFORMATION ABOUT PRIVATE LAND AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE OR LEASE FOR FARMING, INCLUDING CONTACT INFORMATION FOR THE OWNERS OF SUCH LAND. S 5. Section 2 of the public lands law is amended by adding two new subdivisions 2-a and 2-b to read as follows: 2-A. STATE-OWNED REAL PROPERTY INVENTORY; FARMING. A. THE COMMISSIONER OF GENERAL SERVICES IS AUTHORIZED AND DIRECTED TO DEVELOP AN INVENTORY, IN COOPERATION WITH THE COMMISSIONER OF AGRICULTURE AND MARKETS, OF STATE-OWNED REAL PROPERTY THAT MAY BE VIABLE FOR FARMING. B. IF THE COMMISSIONER DETERMINES THAT ANY OF SUCH PROPERTY SHOULD BE MADE AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE OR LEASE FOR FARMING THEN SUCH INFORMATION SHALL BE PROVIDED TO THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AND MARKETS FOR THE FARMLAND AVAILABILITY INFORMATION PROGRAM, PROVIDED, HOWEVER, THAT IF THE COMMISSIONER, IN COOPERATION WITH THE COMMISSIONER OF AGRICULTURE AND MARKETS, DETERMINES THAT ANY OF SUCH PROPERTY SHOULD BE PROTECTED AND PRESERVED USING ARTICLE TWENTY-FIVE-AAA OF THE AGRICULTURE AND MARKETS LAW THEN INFORMATION ABOUT SUCH PROPERTY SHALL NOT BE PROVIDED FOR THE FARMLAND AVAILABILITY INFORMATION PROGRAM UNTIL A REVIEW OF THE MERITS AND FEASIBILITY OF PRESERVING SUCH PROPERTY USING SUCH ARTICLE HAS BEEN CONSIDERED. 2-B. REPORT. THE COMMISSIONER SHALL REPORT TO THE GOVERNOR AND THE LEGISLATURE WITHIN ONE YEAR OF THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THIS SUBDIVISION ON: A. THE INVENTORY OF STATE-OWNED REAL PROPERTY THAT MAY BE VIABLE FOR FARMING CONDUCTED PURSUANT TO SUBDIVISION TWO-A OF THIS SECTION; B. THE FEASIBILITY OF, AND BARRIERS TO, SELLING, LEASING OR USING SUCH PROPERTY FOR FARMING; C. THE FEASIBILITY OF USING ARTICLE TWENTY-FIVE-AAA OF AGRICULTURE AND MARKETS LAW TO PROTECT AND PRESERVE SUCH LAND FOR FARMING WHEN SUCH LAND IS SOLD; AND D. ANY CONCERNS RELATED TO SELLING OR LEASING SUCH PROPERTY FOR FARM- ING, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE TYPES OF FARMING ACTIVITIES THAT MAY BE APPROPRIATE AND THE ENVIRONMENTAL AND COMMUNITY IMPACTS OF FARM- ING SUCH PROPERTIES. S 6. Section 2 of the public lands law is amended by adding a new subdivision 3-a to read as follows:S. 5377--A 3
3-A. LAND VIABLE FOR FARMING; IDENTIFICATION. THE COMMISSIONER OF GENERAL SERVICES IS AUTHORIZED AND DIRECTED, AS PART OF THE STATE-OWNED REAL PROPERTY MANAGEMENT PROGRAM, TO WORK WITH STATE AGENCIES TO IDENTI- FY LAND THAT MAY BE VIABLE FOR FARMING AND MAY BE MADE AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE OR LEASE FOR FARMING. S 7. This act shall take effect immediately.