UTICA, N.Y. (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) – New York is home to over 33,000 family farms producing some of the world’s best food and beverages. About 20% of New York State’s land area, or close to 7 million acres, is farmland. New York State has nearly 700 farmers’ markets across the state. Therefore, when our farms struggle, we all struggle.

The newly founded working group will work alongside representatives from commodity sectors of agriculture to identify challenges and to ensure agencies that interface with the state’s farmers communicate clearly, interact efficiently, and reduce burdensome requirements by focusing on future development.

Feedback received from discussion sessions, which includes getting more dairy into our schools, challenges with transportation and finding certified drivers, and the need to have access to new markets around the State’s climate change efforts will be reflected in the group’s final recommendations.

Other data received through the four roundtable sessions include transportation – which addresses challenges involving the movement of agricultural commodities and products, labor – which identifies and builds the next generation of farmers and farmworkers to support a diverse industry, the environment – which addresses and removes obstacles to capital investments in manure management, on-farm energy production, and the transition to alternative fuel sources that limit the ability of some farms to meet the State’s climate goals and become carbon neutral. housing for workers – increase worker housing to provide workers with a safe living environment that is close to farms and assures sustained and daily production.