The New York Farm Bureau is optimistic following news that Congress is working to pass new immigration reforms. The bureau, a lobbying group, says it was very excited to hear the proposals made by a bipartisan group of senators and by President Barack Obama this week.
Dean Norton, president of the NYFB, says much of what has been proposed is ideas they’ve worked for. "We're excited that we actually have an opportunity that we haven't had probably in the last ten years, to get a real substantive immigration reform that is beneficial for agriculture but is also beneficial for the overall general economy," he said.
Julie Suarez of the NYFB says the bureau is seeing more immigrants getting into farming. The group says it will work with lawmakers to make it easier to enter the farming business.
The NYFB also says they will try and encourage “the next generation” to into farming this year. The organization says they are seeing some positive signs, including an increase in female farmers.
"The largest growth in new start up operations in New York state was actually women-owned farms which is kind of an exciting new trend for us to see," said Suarez.
The group noted in its 2013 agenda that the average age of a New York farmer is 56 years old.