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GCC will host one of 6 ‘Beginning Farmer’ meetings in NY

Staff Reports Posted 8 August 2017 at 8:12 am

BATAVIA – Genesee Community College will host an event on Aug.30 for a beginning farmer initiative through the state Department of Agriculture and Markets.

The event will be from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Conable Technology Building, Room T121, One College Road, Batavia.

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball is starting a statewide listening tour to support early-stage and prospective farmers.

Joined by state and industry partners, the Department of Agriculture and Markets will host six town hall-style meetings across the State to address challenges and concerns facing beginning farmers and to provide information about existing resources available to them.

Seneca Falls is hosting the first event on Aug. 9 at Empire Farm Days. (Click here to see the schedule.)

These sessions build on Governor Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State initiative to establish a beginning farmer program, which includes a one-stop shop for new or future farmers to learn about various government and non-profit programs designed to benefit them.

“There are a lot of exciting things happening in New York agriculture, but for farmers just starting out, it can seem overwhelming. We want them to know their success is our priority,” Commissioner Ball said. “We are here to help them navigate the process and understand the resources at their fingertips. This listening tour is also an opportunity for us to gain valuable feedback directly from the industry on how the State can better support current and future farmers.”

In addition to holding these listening sessions, the Department also serves as a one-stop shop for new farmers and those interested in farming as a second career. This new resource provides support to farmers in starting, diversifying, or expanding an agricultural operation.

The one-stop shop offers individual assistance to early-stage and potential farmers on job training, land ownership, farm financing, compliance, marketing and other areas critical to starting a farm operation.

Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, “Agriculture is a crucial component of New York State’s economy and providing early-stage farmers with State funding and resources helps promote job creation and industry sustainability.”

The average age of New York State farmers today is approximately 55, increasing the likelihood that many of them will be opting to retire or scaling back their operations. At the same time, there is a growing interest from women, veterans, new Americans, and others in beginning a career or starting a second career in farming.

At the direction of Governor Cuomo, the State Department of Agriculture and Markets has established a Beginning Farmer Program, including a one-stop shop, to help these groups overcome obstacles to entering the profession and launch a successful agricultural operation in New York.

The program focuses on four priority areas: access to land; capital and financing; business and technical assistance; mentorship, training and apprenticeship opportunities.

Additional resources for beginning farmers are available on the Department’s website (click here), or by contacting the one-stop shop at (718) 722-2668 or nyc@agriculture.ny.gov.

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