RELEASE: In Wake of Rising Farmland Prices and Loss of Farmland, National Young Farmers Coalition, Land Trusts, American Farmland Trust, and New York Farm Bureau Back the Working Farm Protection Act
Albany, NY (May 2, 2018) – The National Young Farmers Coalition, along with its New York chapters, New York Farm Bureau, American Farmland Trust, and land trusts from around the state, celebrate Assembly member Didi Barrett (D-106) today for taking a stand for farmers with the introduction of the Working Farm Protection Act. The Act would strengthen the New York State Farmland Protection Implementation Grant Program by funding conservation easements that make farmland permanently affordable to working farmers.
“Farmland ownership is the foundation of a successful farm,” says Lindsey Lusher Shute, Executive Director of the National Young Farmers Coalition and co-owner of Hearty Roots Community Farm in Clermont, “but in today’s real estate market, selling vegetables or raising livestock doesn’t pay the mortgage. If we want working farms in this state, we must take action to ensure that the price of protected farmland is affordable to the farmers who need it. Without addressing farmland affordability and the needs of the farmers working the land, the farmland protection program will not fully realize its intended purpose. As non-farmers buy these parcels and bid up the price for land, the farmers will leave and our farm communities will be lost.”
The Conference Last week I traveled to Lexington, Kentucky for the American Farmland Trust’s “Farmland, Food and Livable Communities” conference. The conference was the first of its kind to focus on these challenges at the national level and it brought together a broad spectrum of service providers, funders, land trust staff, and young farmers.