Main Banner

NEWS from the Office of the New York State Comptroller
Contact: Press Office 518-474-4015


DiNapoli: Agricultural Activity Brings $37.6 Billion Into New York’s Economy

March 3, 2015

Agriculture contributed $37.6 billion to New York’s economy in 2012, an increase of more than 22 percent from 2007, according to a report released today by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. The state ranks in the top 10 nationwide for milk and other dairy production, as well as wine, apples, maple syrup and other products.

“New York’s economy is still fueled by agricultural activity and the production of food,” DiNapoli said. “Farms in New York are 98 percent family-owned, yet compete on a national level, diversifying our economy and keeping our local communities strong. It makes economic sense for the state to retain and promote our farms to feed our residents and preserve our land.”

"Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s report calls attention to the significant economic impact agriculture has in New York state,” said Dean Norton, president of the New York Farm Bureau. “This in-depth look highlights the dedication of farmers, the diversity of products and the unmistakable conclusion that agriculture is a cornerstone of our rural economy both upstate and on Long Island. New York Farm Bureau thanks the Comptroller for the report and his continued interest in our state’s agricultural strength.”

Milk is the state’s largest commodity, with $2.4 billion in sales, followed by grains, peas and beans at $856 million, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 2012 census. New York also ranked first nationwide in the production of yogurt, cottage cheese and sour cream, and was the second-largest wine producer in 2013, with 34 million gallons. The state also ranked second nationally in maple syrup production.

As of 2012, roughly 56,000 New Yorkers operated farms, with an additional 61,000 people hired as farm laborers. Both the total value of agricultural commodity sales and farm acreage increased from 2007 to 2012, while the number of New York farms and farmers declined modestly. With an average farmer’s age of 55 years old – reflecting the national average – fewer younger adults are entering the farming profession.  In 2012, more than half of New York farms had sales below $10,000.

New York state has established a number of policy initiatives to promote its agricultural sector. They include:

  • The Farmland Protection Program, which can pay 75 percent of purchase costs for conservation easements to municipalities;
  • The New Farmers Grant Fund to encourage young people to take up farming with grants for equipment purchases, supplies or construction;
  • The Fresh Connect and Fresh Fruit and Vegetable programs, which bring farm food to communities and fund school purchases of fresh produce; and
  • The Food Metrics Law, which encourages state agencies to purchase food produced by New York farmers.

As farmers continue to address the challenges driven by factors at the local, national and even international levels, close attention to the most effective mix of state policies to support agriculture will remain essential.

For more details on agriculture in New York, visit the report at: /