Maloney Hosts Roundtable on Local Agriculture Priorities, Helping Beginning Farmers
Newburgh, NY – On Earth Day, Representative Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18) hosted a roundtable with Hudson Valley farmers at Soons Orchards in New Hampton, NY to discuss local agriculture priorities, conservation efforts and ways to support the next generation of Hudson Valley farmers. In attendance were representatives from the New York Farm Bureau, the National Young Farmers Coalition, area land trusts and non-profits, Cornell Cooperative Extension and local Hudson Valley farmers.
“Our hardworking farmers create thousands of jobs and bring back over one hundred million dollars to our Hudson Valley economy,” said Rep. Maloney, a Member of the House Agriculture Committee. “Our farmers know the situation on the ground better than anyone else, which is why I want to hear directly from local farmers and producers about their concerns and priorities – particularly what we can do to incentivize the next generation of farmers and provide beginning farmers with the tools they need to succeed.”
“We were delighted to host Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, growers and farm advocates from around the Hudson Valley at our family farm today for a lively discussion of problems and solutions to the many challenges facing local agriculture. Congressman Maloney has been pro-active since day one for farmers, identifying opportunities to help a critical component of our local economy to not just survive, but thrive. Kudos to his office for organizing gatherings like this one, and always being available to listen, and better yet, act,” said Sharon Soons, Soons Orchard.
“New York Farm Bureau appreciates Congressman Maloney taking the time to meet with young farmers in his district to hear their concerns. Starting a new farm business comes with many challenges including access to land, capital and navigating complicated regulatory systems. Congressman Maloney clearly understands that young farmers are important to the future economy and maintaining the rich history of the Hudson Valley,” said Elizabeth Wolters, Associate Director of Public Policy at New York Farm Bureau.
"Young farmers are their own best advocates. I'm glad Representative Maloney brought together this group of farmers and service providers to talk about how we help the next generation succeed,” said Lindsey Shute, Co-founder and Executive Director of National Young Farmers Coalition.
According to the most recent census data, Agriculture showed a 4.3% decline in the number of principal farmers compared with 2007. The report also found that the average age of principal farmers has continued to rise – causing concern amongst key stakeholders that the industry is not attracting enough new entrants to the industry. Maloney is a cosponsor of the Young Farmer Success Act, legislation designed to incentivize careers in farming. The bill would designate farming as a public service under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, and allow qualified applicants to receive full federal student loan forgiveness after ten years of on-time payments.
Immediately after joining Congress in 2013, Rep. Maloney hosted his first Agriculture Town Hall where he heard that Congress and the USDA must do a better job protecting hardworking farmers in the Hudson Valley – especially in the aftermath of devastating storms like Hurricane Irene. In response to this Town Hall, Rep. Maloney introduced his first bill, the bipartisan CROP Act, which aimed to reform crop insurance and invest in the specialty crop farmers who drive the Hudson Valley’s agricultural economy. Rep. Maloney’s CROP Act, along with other key priorities for the Hudson Valley, was included in the 2014 Farm Bill.