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Senator Pam Helming announced Thursday that her bill creating the Farmland Protection Implementation Grant Program has been signed into law by the Governor. The measure, S.8362A, which Senator Patty Ritchie sponsored and Helming co-sponsored, improves the existing Farmland Protection Grant program. The new bill includes provisions to promote farmer-to-farmer property transactions in order to keep more farmland in agricultural production. With this new law, farmer-purchaser agreements are now eligible for state assistance payments within the Farmland Protection Program.

"Every day, we see more and more farmland taken out of agricultural production. Losing these farms can have devastating effects on hardworking families and communities that rely on the goods and the jobs that the farms provide. New York State's number one industry is agriculture, and it is imperative that we preserve this standing. By providing incentives for farmers to sell their land to other farmers, and encouraging farmers to buy their own land, we are taking important measures to preserve our active farmland and all of the fresh produce that comes out of it. I am proud to have co-sponsored this bill, and I look forward to seeing all of the future transactions it encourages," Helming said.

Farmers will now be able to purchase farmland at its agricultural use value, a value determined by the land's productive commercial agricultural use, making it more affordable for working farmers to purchase. Not all buyers will be eligible for this purchase value, only farmers who can acceptably demonstrate that they are qualified to keep the land in agricultural production. These measures will help encourage farmer-to-farmer transactions and help protect existing farmland throughout the state. The law will take effect in 90 days. This bill originally passed both the Senate and Assembly unanimously during this year's legislative session.

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