ASSEMBLY STANDING COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE
NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING
The most recent federal census of agriculture in 2007 found that the average age of farmers in NYS 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. However, 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.
The State budget includes programs to: increase farm viability, efficiency and profitability; promote agriculture economic development; purchase and protect farmland; provide assistance to families facing the transfer or sale of family farms; and, train tomorrow's farmers in our State university system. In addition, there are grassroots local efforts, some receiving federal grants, to develop: mentoring and apprenticeship programs; programs that connect retiring farmers with new farmers; innovative farm transfer and transition practices; and farming programs for immigrants and urban students.
The panel would like to receive testimony on the effectiveness of existing programs and policies designed to help new farmers in the coming years and the need for changes or new approaches.
Persons wishing to present pertinent testimony to the Committee at the above hearing should complete and return the enclosed reply form as soon as possible. It is important that the reply form be fully completed and returned so that persons may be notified in the event of emergency postponement or cancellation.
Oral testimony will be limited to 10 minutes' duration. In preparing the order of witnesses, the Committee will attempt to accommodate individual requests to speak at particular times in view of special circumstances. These requests should be made on the attached reply form or communicated to Committee staff as early as possible.
Ten copies of any prepared testimony should be submitted at the hearing registration desk. The Committee would appreciate advance receipt of prepared statements.
In order to further publicize these hearings, please inform interested parties and organizations of the Committee's interest in hearing testimony from all sources.
In order to meet the needs of those who may have a disability, the Assembly, in accordance with its policy of non-discrimination on the basis of disability, as well as the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), has made its facilities and services available to all individuals with disabilities. For individuals with disabilities, accommodations will be provided, upon reasonable request, to afford such individuals access and admission to Assembly facilities and activities.
Member of Assembly
Committee on Agriculture