NY makes $1 million available for new farmers

Posted 27 October 2015 at 12:00 am

Press Release, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Office

ALBANY – Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced $1 million in funding is available to assist new farmers begin their careers.

Now in its second year, the New York State New Farmers Grant Fund will build upon a successful 2015 when more than $610,000 was awarded to 19 farms across the state in order to support the continued growth of New York’s agricultural industry.

“Farming remains an important industry in New York and an essential part of this state’s economy,” Governor Cuomo said. “By creating new opportunities for early-stage farmers to expand and diversify agricultural production across the state, we are bolstering the growth in this sector and helping to ensure its vitality for years to come.”

The $1 million New Farmers Grant Fund will provide grants of up to 50 percent of total project costs. Funds may provide a minimum of $15,000 and maximum of $50,000 for up to 50 percent of project costs with the remaining 50 percent being matched by the recipient.

Eligible project costs include the purchase of farm machinery, supplies and equipment, and construction or improvement of farm buildings. Empire State Development, in consultation with the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, will administer the fund which is open to New York farmers in the first 10 years of having a farm operation of 150 acres or less.

The application and guidelines for the New York State New Farmers Grant Fund are available online and the deadline for submission is January 22, 2016. Visit regionalcouncils.ny.gov for both the application and guidelines.

“Beginning farmers are as an important resource to the future of New York agriculture as land and water,” said New York Farm Bureau President Dean Norton. “The grant fund and loan forgiveness program will kick start necessary investments that may be needed on growing farms and in turn support the agricultural economy statewide.”

Additionally, the New York State Young Farmers Loan Forgiveness Incentive Program, which encourages new college graduates to pursue farming careers in New York State, is now accepting applications for 2016.

The Incentive Program, available through New York State Higher Education Services Corporation, provides loan forgiveness awards to individuals who obtain an undergraduate degree from an approved New York State college or university and agree to operate a farm in New York State, on a full-time basis, for five years. In its first year, funding was provided for up to 10 awards and all 10 awards were given to eligible farmers.

The application for the New York State Young Farmers Loan Forgiveness Program is available online and the deadline for submission is Dec. 1, 2015. Click here for the application.

State Assemblyman Steve Hawley, a former hog farmer and Genesee County Farm Bureau president, released this statement about the NY “New Farmers” program:

“As the owner of our family-owned farm for many years, I know firsthand how difficult life in the agriculture industry can be,” Hawley said. “Profits from produce and livestock sales fluctuate and the possibility of drought and flooding is always real. I can imagine the trepidation many young men and women feel as they begin their career in farming and agriculture, and this funding is a tremendous opportunity for aspiring farmers to get on their feet. Up to $50,000 in matching grant funds are available for everything from tractor and plow purchases to construction of barns and silos. I am proud of the work we have done to bolster the agriculture industry in New York State and I pledge my continued support going forward.”