Farmers have helped shape the landscape of New York. They have cleared the countryside, plowed fields and maintained woodlands for centuries. Even today, more than seven million acres in New York are used for farming. Nationwide, New York farmers are leading producers of more than 20 fruits, vegetables and dairy products—from apples and sweet corn to maple syrup and milk.
Agriculture is increasingly recognized as a critical element of the state’s economy as well as a key producer of fresh, healthy foods and renewable energy. Well-managed farms can act as natural filters to protect water quality, while also providing wildlife habitat and sequestering greenhouse gases.
Despite the importance of our farms, their future is threatened. Economic factors have made it difficult for many New York farms to remain viable. Disastrous weather events have destroyed entire seasons of crops. And poorly planned development has sprawled out from urban areas into the countryside, permanently destroying some of the state’s most productive farmland.
Like the first version of the New York Agricultural Landowner Guide, this edition aims to help farmers and other farmland owners navigate the sometimes-confusing array of public programs available to reduce taxes as well as steward and protect their land. This updated version also identifies energy and environmental opportunities in a “green economy” and programs focused on enhancing farm viability. Throughout the guide, program titles are followed by the names of agencies/organizations that farmers should contact to learn more about a program.