ADVISORY: Young Farmers to Discuss the Future of Suffolk County Agriculture with Congressman Lee Zeldin, Assemblyperson Fred W. Thiele and State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle


PRESS ADVISORY: AUGUST 10th, 2016

CONTACT: Lindsey Shute | View full release and contacts

Young Farmers to Discuss the Future of Suffolk County Agriculture with Congressman Lee Zeldin, Assemblyperson Fred W. Thiele and State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle

BRIDGEHAMPTON, NY — Only four percent of Suffolk County farmers are under the age of 35, presenting a significant risk for the future of the state’s third largest county agricultural economy. On Wednesday, August 10th six of young farmers will have the opportunity to discuss the significant challenges that they face in building their Long Island farms with three elected representatives: Congressman Lee Zeldin; Assemblyperson Fred Thiele; and State Senator LaValle. The roundtable will be followed with an Amber Waves farm pizza reception, generously donated by Facawi Farm owners Katja Goldman and Michael Sonnenfeldt.

WHEN: August 10th, 2016 at 5:30pm

WHERE: Facawi Farm, 1140 Sagg Main St. Sagaponack

WHO: Elected officials: Congressman Lee Zeldin, Assemblyperson Fred W. Thiele and State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle Farmers: Brendan McMullan, Facawi Farm; Layton Guenther, Quail Hill Farm; Amanda Merrow, Amber Waves; Abra Moraweic, Feisty Acres Farm; Kaitlyn Anderson, Green Island Distributors and Farm Bureau Beginning Farmer and Rancher Committee.

WHY: Despite the near ‘extinction’ of Suffolk county agriculture in the 1960s, the county still supports one of the largest agricultural economies in New York State. With planning, protection and hard work by local leaders, nearly 20,000 acres of farmland are now protected. Nonetheless, what remains of Suffolk County agriculture is at significant risk because of the cost of farmland and an aging farm population. The average age of farmers in Suffolk County (now 57.6) years old continues to increase, and 85% of these retirement-age farmers do not have a young farmer operator in their business. The Suffolk County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan describes the “agricultural brain drain” as a “clear and present threat to the industry.”

The National Young Farmers Coalition is a national network of farmers, ranchers, and consumers who support practices and policies that will sustain young, independent farmers now and in the future. Visit us at youngfarmers.org

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