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NY Legislature Approves Working Farm Protection Act

Laughing Earth Farm (Agricultural Stewardship Association)

At the end of their 2018 legislative session, the New York State legislature passed the “Working Farm Protection Act.” If signed into law, this bill will make it state policy to fund preemptive purchase rights (PPRs) and other affordability protections as part of the state agricultural easement program. Read more here.

One important reason that this bill gained traction amongst a coalition of supporters is because over the last few years, Equity Trust’s Hudson Valley Farm Affordability Program has demonstrated how affordability protections can be used  to ensure that farmland remains available to farmers at affordable prices, which in turn supports the viability of working farms. Our collaborative work has shown demand on the part of farmers and the land protection community.

“Protecting affordable farms is critical for ensuring farmers have access to land and ensuring that protected farms remain in active agriculture. For a number of farm protection projects in the Hudson Valley, Equity Trust has provided private funding to pay for preemptive purchase rights and other protections designed to keep farms in the hands of farmers. These projects demonstrate the value of tools that keep farms affordable and the enthusiasm they have generated within the farming community. Private resources can and should continue to be brought to the table, but they need to be supplemented by public dollars if we are to bring the protection of affordable working farms to scale.

–Jim Oldham, Executive Director, Equity Trust, Inc.