The New York Farm Bureau has released its state priorities for this year. During a conference call, officials outlined their agricultural policy goals.
Officials with New York’s farm advocacy organization said their focus this year is strengthening the economy and future of farms and growers. Farm Bureau President Dean Norton noted that the average age of a New York farmer is 56. According to a 2007 Ag census, about 19-hundred farm operators are under the age of 35, while over 33-hundred are over age 75.
The largest employers in rural New York are farm related businesses and Farm Bureau officials want a focus on agriculture as an economic development tool. Public Policy Director Julie Suarez says policies must be implemented that make farming less risky.
Julie Suarez says their members are concerned about a proposed increase in New York’s minimum wage to $8.75 an hour.
As the Farm Bureau looks towards the future of farming, Suarez notes that new startups have been led by women and immigrants.
Cornell College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is reporting an increase in applicants and enrollees in agriculture majors.