Relates to the beginning farmer revolving loan program.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the agriculture and markets law, in relation to the beginning farmer revolving loan fund program
PURPOSE: To establish a beginning farmer revolving loan fund program within the Agriculture and Markets Law.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section one amends Section 328 of the Agriculture and Markets Law to define the term "beginning farmer".
Section two adds a new Subdivision 330-a to the Agriculture and Markets law to create the beginning farmer revolving loan fund program.
Section three provides for the effective date.
EXISTING LAW: Article 25-AAAA of the Agriculture and Markets law was enacted to promote the agriculture industry in New York, an industry which has a substantial impact on the overall economic health and well-being of our state.
State farms preserve approximately 7.7 million acres of open space as working landscapes, thus contributing to the overall quality of the state's environment. Preserving farmland as a working agricultural landscape provides open space benefits for all residents of the state, and maintains the land as a natural habitat for animals.
Additionally, properly managed farmland has been demonstrated to be the best environmental usage of land for watershed protection. For these reasons, it is in the best interest of the state to promote agricultural uses of the state's lands.
While numerous other revolving loan programs exist under New York law, a revolving loan program for beginning farmers does not currently exist.
JUSTIFICATION: New York state law provides revolving loan programs for many other groups, to incentivize residents of the state to take up a certain profession. Taking steps to recruit young, new, and beginning farmers to the agricultural profession is certainly one area in need of incentives such as a revolving loan fund program.
Agriculture is the leading industry in New York yet, New York's farm community is aging and it has become increasingly difficult to attract young people to farming and to encourage them to consider a farming career. The average age of farm operators in New York is 59, and is expected to continue to increase unless steps are taken to reverse this trend. The U.S. Secretary of Agriculture has set a goal of recruiting 100,000 new farmers across the country to replace those who are retiring. By enacting a revolving loan fund program for beginning farmers, New York can take one small step at helping that recruitment effort.
Farming is a difficult business and there are many barriers to beginning farmers who might otherwise consider entering the profession. The agricultural industry has a substantial impact on the overall economic health and wellbeing of the state, and it is in the best interest of the state to ensure that enough producers are recruited and retained in agricultural production. Additionally, the recent increase in demand for quality fresh locally grown foods and beverages highlight the importance of assisting new farmers to enter the profession.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: This is a new bill.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: This bill is subject to funds being appropriated for the purposes of the program.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect on the first of April next succeeding the date on which it shall have become a law. Provided, however, that any rules and regulations necessary to implement the provisions of this act on its effective date are authorized to be made on or before such date.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 6880--A IN SENATE March 25, 2014 ___________Introduced by Sens. RITCHIE, BALL, BONACIC, DeFRANCISCO, FARLEY, GALLI- VAN, GRIFFO, GRISANTI, LARKIN, LAVALLE, LIBOUS, LITTLE, MARCHIONE, MAZIARZ, NOZZOLIO, O'MARA, RANZENHOFER, ROBACH, SEWARD, VALESKY, YOUNG -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Agriculture -- committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee AN ACT to amend the agriculture and markets law, in relation to the beginning farmer revolving loan fund program THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Section 328 of the agriculture and markets law is amended by adding a new subdivision 5 to read as follows: 5. "BEGINNING FARMER" SHALL MEAN A FARMER WHO HAS NOT PRODUCED AN "AGRICULTURAL PRODUCT" AS DEFINED IN THIS SECTION, FOR MORE THAN TEN CONSECUTIVE YEARS, AND WHO WILL MATERIALLY AND SUBSTANTIALLY PARTICIPATE IN THE PRODUCTION OF AN AGRICULTURAL PRODUCT WITHIN A REGION OF THE STATE. S 2. The agriculture and markets law is amended by adding a new section 330-a to read as follows: S 330-A. BEGINNING FARMER REVOLVING LOAN PROGRAM. 1. THE COMMISSIONER SHALL ESTABLISH AND MAINTAIN A BEGINNING FARMER REVOLVING LOAN PROGRAM TO PROVIDE LOW INTEREST LOANS TO BEGINNING FARMERS FOR THE PURPOSES OF SUPPORTING BEGINNING FARMERS, ENCOURAGING THE GROWTH OF SMALL AGRIBUSI- NESS, PRESERVING FARMLAND AS A WORKING AGRICULTURAL LANDSCAPE, AND PROVIDING OPEN SPACE BENEFITS FOR ALL RESIDENTS OF THE STATE. PROPERLY MANAGED FARMLAND HAS BEEN DEMONSTRATED TO BE THE BEST ENVIRONMENTAL USAGE OF LAND FOR WATERSHED PROTECTION, SO IT IS IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THE STATE TO MAINTAIN AGRICULTURAL LAND. SUCH PROGRAM SHALL, FROM ANY APPROPRIATION MADE AVAILABLE FOR THIS PURPOSE, PROVIDE LOW INTEREST LOANS TO BEGINNING FARMERS AS THE COMMISSIONER SHALL DEEM TO BE ELIGIBLE PURSUANT TO RULE OR REGULATION. 2. THE COMMISSIONER SHALL PROMULGATE RULES AND REGULATIONS FOR THE PURPOSE OF CARRYING OUT THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION, INCLUDING ESTAB- LISHING:EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD13525-03-4 S. 6880--A 2
A. AN APPLICATION PROCESS WHEREBY BEGINNING FARMERS MAY APPLY FOR LOANS; B. CRITERIA AND STANDARDS FOR DETERMINING A BEGINNING FARMER'S ELIGI- BILITY FOR A LOAN; C. CRITERIA AND STANDARDS FOR DETERMINING THE PRIORITY TO BE GRANTED AMONG BEGINNING FARMER APPLICANTS; D. CRITERIA AND STANDARDS FOR DETERMINING THE AMOUNT OF FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO BE PROVIDED TO A BEGINNING FARMER; AND E. CRITERIA AND STANDARDS TO BE USED IN DETERMINING THE LOAN REPAYMENT PERIODS AND THE TERMS OF ANY REPAYMENT AGREEMENT. S 3. This act shall take effect on the first of April next succeeding the date on which it shall have become a law; provided, however, that any rules and regulations necessary to implement the provisions of this act on its effective date are authorized to be made on or before such date.