In the News: Our Comms Specialist Talks Farmer Succession with New York Times

Farms all over the country are closing their operations having not found a successor for their farm business. New York is not immune to the challenge, nor are multi-generation family farms.

With an aging population of farmers, over 1.8 million acres of farmland in New York State are owned by people over the age of 65. Farms are increasingly sold to become developed and over 5,000 farms have been developed since 1982.

Traditionally, many farms depend on children taking over as parents are ready to retire, as was the case in the past for Hull-O Family Farm in Durham, NY. After seven generations of farming, none of the Hull’s four kids are interested in operating the business and the farm is being offered for sale.

Kacey Deamer, our program’s communications specialist, was recently interviewed by the New York Times about the sale of the 260-acre family farm and how it represents current trends in farming.

“As people seek different career opportunities and move away from their family farm, relying on children to take over the farm business is not always the answer,” Deamer told the New York Times.

She mentioned the Cornell Small Farms Program has increasingly been working with farmers looking to transition the business to someone outside of the family and some are forced to sell. The program helps to connect farmers with relevant expertise and support.

The NY Farmland Finder is a resource to connect landowners and land seekers. Farmers can create a profile and connect with fellow farmers to find land or to keep farmland in production when farmers are ready to retire.

County offices of Cornell Cooperative Extension often hold workshops on creating a transition plan. They also offer localized support and resources.

Kelsie Raucher

Kelsie is from southwest Missouri and grew up on a 150-acre farm helping her family buy and sell horses and cattle. She credits FFA for finding her passion for agriculture and food issues and desiring a career as an “agvocate.” Since coming to Cornell, she has gained interest in local production, global food issues, and environmental impacts of and on agriculture. She joined the Cornell Small Farms Program in May of 2018 and is excited to gain experience to complement coursework in the Agricultural Sciences major and Communication major.
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