WATERLOO, N.Y. — Farmers looking to transition to the next farm owner or starting their new farm businesses now have some exceptional guidance via You Tube videos developed by New York Agricultural Land Trust (NYALT) found at www.nyalt.org/farmland-for-a-new-generation. These videos contain information about estate planning and tax benefits of farmland conservation, to stories of working through a farm transfer.
NYALT secured a grant from the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets to provide a collaborative outreach event to assist with farm transfers between older generation landowners to new and beginning farmers and families planning for an intergenerational transfer. Three videos from the successful event held in the fall of 2019 provide timely information from regionally recognized speakers. Each video runs approximately 1 hour 30 minutes. The topics are: “Mechanisms to Transfer Agricultural Land”; “Tools for Business Planning and Land Access” and “Tools for Effectively Communicating Between Generations.”
New York’s agriculture contributes over 2.4 billion dollars annually to the state’s economy. In addition, farms provide jobs along with fresh, locally grown food while keeping close to 7 million acres in production providing many benefits which includes open space for scenic views especially along the Finger Lakes.
“Our dedicated farmers produce food and fiber in spite of challenges which include uncertain prices, changing weather patterns and a decreased labor force. Even in the face of these challenges our farms remain strong but are now starting to face another challenge; an aging population of farm owners,” noted Seneca County Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Agricultural Economic Development Specialist Judy Wright. “It is important that farm transition is a planned process and these videos will help in that planning” said Wright.
By some estimates, nearly 371 million acres of farmland could be transitioned in the next 10 to 15 years nationally with a similar trend in New York. Much of the land in transition could be lost from agricultural production and many are striving to find ways to get this productive resource to the next generation of farmers. The largest hurdle to overcome is the cost of the land and other underlying economic factors facing next generation farmers.
There is little doubt that keeping farmers, of any age, on the land will keep our food supply secure for future generations and continue to stabilize our local economies.
–Judy Wright, Cornell University