Cost of doing business is the most pressing issue in New York's agricultural community. That's the top and bottom line of the latest member survey by New York Farm Bureau.
NYFB surveyed members by e-mail, according to Julie Suarez, director of public policy. High costs were cited by 47% of respondents. State taxes and regulatory environment were the leading cost factors.
"Low prices paid to farmers" came in a distant second with 14% calling it the worst problem. Next came "loss of farmland", noted by 12%. Those issues beat out other pressing issues including energy costs, reliable and consistent labor supply, international competition and environmental restrictions – although they factor into the higher costs.
"Every sector of our membership ranked the cost of doing business in New York as the most critical issue to be addressed," notes Suarez. "We continue to try and convince our leaders in Albany that they must address this issue or watch our farms disappear."
The survey found surprisingly little difference between farmer-members and associate members. In fact, 45% of farmer-members ranked "cost of doing business" as most pressing; 53% of associate members ranked it first.
Of the respondents, 49% were full-time farmers, 21% were part-time farmers, and 13% were in agricultural careers. Another 7% were landowners while 5% were members simply because they believed farming is important.