This issue of Rural NY Small Business Owner has a farm focus: Why agriculture could be the next big technology thing, community investments in healthy food, and grow-your-own farmer programs.
There’s money in dirt.
According to the New York Farm Bureau, the state has about 35,000 farms, 99 percent of them family owned. Farming, long thought of as a way to lose money in the fresh air, is beginning to be thought of as a potential money pot.
Venture capitalists are investing in agriculture and agribusinesses. Investors are helping to create new farm business models, that include such things as developing meal kits and reducing business costs through equipment sharing.
Promote healthy food
New Yorkers need to eat more fruits and vegetables. Some upstate communities are taking steps to assure residents can access and know how to prepare and even grow healthy foods. Does your chamber of commerce promote farm businesses to its communities? Does its website feature a photo of in-season blueberries now?
Keep ’em down on the farm
A farmer shortage is looming in the US. Programs to train farmers are popping up like weeds in a wet July. Schools are beginning to see agriculture as a STEM field that uses technologies like genetic modification and robots.
A bill introduced by Reps. Chris Gibson, R-NY, and Joe Courtney, D-Conn., would make farmers eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program along with teachers, nurses and government employees.