ALBANY — This statement can be attributed to Samantha Levy, New York Policy Manager for American Farmland Trust:
“American Farmland Trust applauds the New York State Legislature for their leadership and commitment to critical agricultural and environmental programs in the SFY22 one house budget proposals, including important increases in funding for Farmland for a New Generation New York and for the state’s Farmland Protection program. New York is facing a wide-scale intergenerational transition of farmland that threatens the future of a quarter of the acres that New Yorkers rely on to grow food and support local economies. At the same time, a new generation of farmers face enormous barriers in finding and accessing land to farm. The Farmland for a New Generation and farmland protection programs work hand in hand to keep land in farming and bring a new generation onto the land, and the proposed funding increases underscore a great and urgent need highlighted by the pandemic: supporting New York farmers is a critical component of a resilient regional food system that feeds all New Yorkers now and into the future.”
“AFT was also pleased to see renewed commitment to permanently protecting New York’s farmland in the proposed one house budgets. In particular, AFT applauds the Assembly’s proposal to grow the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) to $400 million while increasing farmland protection funding significantly, and the Senate’s proposal to reauthorize the $3 billion Environmental Bond Act. If passed in November, this bond act will permanently protect more farmland, advance farm viability, help farmers gain access to land, and support New York farmers in helping the state reach its climate goals by adopting regenerative practices and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”
“We appreciate that New York State continues to prioritize agricultural and environmental funding, especially as we recover from the economic impacts of the COVID pandemic. These funds, and others proposed in the one house budgets to support Farm to School and Nourish NY will provide communities with the relief they need to address food insecurity and protect public health and natural resources while creating jobs. American Farmland Trust looks forward to working with the legislature during the remainder of the budget process to advance these bold proposals.”
American Farmland Trust is the only national organization that takes a holistic approach to agriculture, focusing on the land itself, the agricultural practices used on that land, and the farmers and ranchers who do the work. AFT launched the conservation agriculture movement and continues to raise public awareness through our No Farms, No Food message. Since our founding in 1980, AFT has helped permanently protect over 6.5 million acres of agricultural lands, advanced environmentally-sound farming practices on a half million additional acres and supported thousands of farm families.
–American Farmland Trust