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State agencies have $1 million to assist new farmers

Posted 16 October 2018 at 8:47 pm

Press Release, NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets

Empire State Development and the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets announced $1 million in funding is available to assist early-stage farmers through the New York State New Farmers Grant Fund.

The program, now in its fifth year, promotes growth and development in the state’s agriculture industry. To date, $3.27 million has been awarded to nearly 90 farms throughout New York State to expand their operations and improve their profitability.

The $1 million New Farmers Grant Fund will provide grants of up to $50,000 to assist with up to 50 percent of eligible project costs. To qualify, all farm business owners must be within the first 10 years of having an ownership interest in any farm business, and the farm must have a minimum of $10,000 in income from sales of products grown or raised on the farm. Eligible project costs include the purchase of machinery, equipment, supplies, and the construction or improvement of agricultural structures.

“Agriculture is vital to New York State’s economy, and the New Farmers Grant Fund supports our early stage farmers by promoting projects that increase overall farm profitability and ensure sustainability of farming operations,” said ESD President, CEO and Commissioner Howard Zemsky.

Applications and guidelines for the New Farmers Grant Fund are available by clicking here. The deadline for submission is January 25, 2019.

New farmers are a critical piece of the overall agricultural landscape in the State and the future of the industry. To further support the State’s new and beginning farmers, the Department of Agriculture & Markets launched a New and Beginning Farmer One Stop Shop in 2017. The web-based resource helps new and beginning farmers connect to the resources and services that can help their businesses thrive. Information can be found by clicking here.

“The New Farmers Grant Fund encourages young people and those seeking second careers to pursue a livelihood that is not always easy but always rewarding,” said State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball.

New York State is home to 36,000 farms that are top producers of more than 30 commodities, including apples, grapes, snap beans, maple products and dairy. New York’s dairy industry is the largest sector of the state’s agricultural industry, accounting for approximately one-half of its on-farm production, support services and value-added products.

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