Sen. Helming aims to ‘level’ playing field for hops farmers

Senator Pam Helming today announced that the New York State Senate passed a bill that she sponsors to include hop yards in the definition of agricultural land. The legislation (S.8841) would give hops farmers the same opportunities as orchard and vineyard owners to apply for agricultural tax exemptions. This measure will support the continued growth of New York’s hops industry so that it can meet the demands of the many new breweries opening across our region.

“At my Farm Brewery Roundtable, I heard from various stakeholders who agreed that it is vital to support our hops farmers who supply the New York-grown ingredients to our brewers. We brought people together across party lines to get this important legislation passed. My legislation, coupled with the additional $100,000 in funding for Cornell’s hops and barley research, which I secured in this year’s budget, are important steps forward. It is exciting to see the growth of hops farming and brewing throughout the Finger Lakes region and New York State at large. As Senate Chair of the Legislative Commission on Rural Resources, I will continue to work with local farmers and brewers to support the continued growth of the job-producing hops industry,” Senator Helming said.

Senator Helming hosted a Farm Brewery Roundtable in January, where nearly 60 stakeholders – including growers, brewers, New York Farm Bureau, and the State Liquor Authority – participated in a conversation about the farm brewery license. One of the main takeaways from the roundtable was that farmers are incurring a disproportionate risk in the new and rapidly expanding industry. This bill will help ease the burden on hops growers, by allowing them the same opportunities for real property tax abatement that is standard for vineyards and orchards.

This legislation has also passed the Assembly, where it was sponsored by Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner, and it will be delivered to the Governor for consideration.

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