Supporting Diversity in Agriculture

Diversity and Racial Equity Working Group

On January 8, 2020, Former Governor Cuomo announced a proposal to increase diversity in the New York State agricultural industry as part of the 2020 State of the State agenda. According to 2017 Census of Agriculture, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) farmers and producers make up just 1.3% of producers in New York State, which showed that the Department and the New York State agricultural industry were not meeting the needs of BIPOC constituents. As part of the initiative, the Commissioner of Agriculture was tasked with assembling a workgroup to develop recommendations for a strategic plan to move the industry forward.

AGM staff recruited a group of 25 stakeholders to tackle this initiative. The workgroup met six times from November 2020 through March 2021. Workgroup members and AGM focused on four key areas to develop recommendations:

- Access to Infrastructure and Resources
- Access to Education and Training
- Access to Capital
- Access to Land

The 21 recommendations outlined in this report were developed in collaboration with BIPOC leaders, a majority of whom are Black, who have been advocating, developing solutions, and building the groundwork for this report for decades. The Diversity and Racial Equity Workgroup proposes a $10 million initial investment to execute the recommendations listed in this report. For every recommendation, AGM encourages investment in BIPOC-led farms and organizations, including those in the Workgroup.

Black, Indigenous, & Other Farmers of Color (BIPOC Farmers)

New Americans

New Americans bring knowledge of farming, farm practices, and food cultures from around the world that help diversify our industry. The programs below are designed to help you get started farming in New York State. 

Retiring Farmers

Farmers who are ready to retire today face unique transitional challenge; the process is no longer as simple as passing the farm on to the next generation. For those farmers looking to connect with the next generation of farmers in New York State, the resources and service providers below can help. 

Urban Farmers

As cities work to become greener the world over, interest in urban agriculture has skyrocketed. Included below are some resources and how-to guides specifically tailored for urban farmers in New York City and in other urban centers across the state. 

Learn more about urban farming and community gardens in New York State.

Some additional resources include:


Many members of the armed forces find their way into agriculture after completing their service. Below are resources and training programs specifically tailored towards veterans to help them excel in the field of agriculture. 

Women Farmers

The number of women venturing into agriculture continues to grow in New York State, but women still remain underrepresented in the industry. The below resources and groups are focused on empowering and supporting  women in agriculture across New York State.

Young Farmers

Engaging young people in the agricultural sciences not only opens up numerous potential careers paths for them, but is also a crucial for cultivating future farmers of New York State. Below are some key programs and resources connecting youth to agriculture across our state.