WASHINGTON – Representative Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18) announced a federal investment of $404,650 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) to support the next generation of farmers and ranchers through the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP). Rep. Maloney has also introduced legislation to reauthorize the BFRDP program.
“Our farmers aren’t getting any younger and not enough people are stepping into the field to take their place,” said Rep. Maloney (NY-18). “We need to start the next generation of farming right now. This investment will help new Hudson Valley farmers step into the profession and get a successful start.”
“We are thrilled to have this support,” said Kathleen Finlay, President of Glynwood. “By providing new farm based businesses with the skills and tools they need to be successful, we are creating a healthy food system here in the Hudson Valley. We are fortunate to have such strong political leadership in this region who recognize the importance of helping new entry farmers prosper – to the benefit of all of our residents.”
Funding from the investment will enable the BFRDP to start training new and beginning farmers in the skills they need to cultivate successful agricultural businesses in the Hudson Valley. A key part of the program allows the Hudson Valley Farm Business Incubator (HVFBI) to provide new entry farmers who have been farming for between 2 and 5 years with access to shared land, housing, equipment; training in comprehensive business planning, financial training and market development; guidance in resilient and regenerative land stewardship practices; and assistance fledging to long term farmland in the region. This is, essentially, everything a new entry farmer needs to be successful. The HVFBI hopes to have 15 new long-term farm businesses up and running by the third year of the program.
This is a multi-stakeholder initiative whose objective is to encourage new farmers to enter the industry at a time when the average age of farmers is nearly sixty. The BFRDP program, authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill, aims to help address issues associated with the rising age and decrease in the number of U.S. farmers and ranchers. The program supports projects that deliver education, mentoring, and technical assistance programs to help beginning farmers and ranchers in the U.S. and its territories with entering, establishing, building and managing successful farm and ranch enterprises. Awardees provide the knowledge, skills, and tools needed to help farmers and ranchers make informed decisions for their operations, and enhance their sustainability.
Last month, Rep. Maloney introduced legislation called the Young and Beginning Farmers Act that had three main objectives for young farmers: access to land, USDA programs for young and beginning farmers, and investments in local and regional food systems. The legislation would also reauthorize the BFRDP. Rep. Maloney also introduced the Local FARMS Act to help farmers deliver produce directly to their customers, and secured $130,000 in investments to combat the Allium Leafminer, an invasive species of pest that threatens Orange County’s multi-million dollar onion industry.
Glynwood Center is a non-profit organization serving food and farming professionals across New York’s Hudson Valley. The organization advances regenerative agriculture in service of our natural environment, local economies, and human health. The center also serves as a teaching venue for aspiring farmers and a testbed for regenerative farming practices.