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Federal Agencies Serving Agriculture

  • USDA Farm Service Agency – 315-477-6300 Federal agency with county offices across the state to administer farm loans, price support programs, commodity programs and payments, conservation programs, and disaster assistance.
  • USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service – 315-477-6524 Federal agency that has a mutual agreement with state-funded Soil and Water Conservation Districts.  NRCS has 47 field offices and provides one-on-one assistance to private landowners and local governmental units in all aspects of natural resource protection.  They also administer federal cost-share conservation programs.
  • USDA RC&D – The purpose of Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) is to accelerate the conservation, development and utilization of natural resources, improve the rural economies, enhance the environment and standard of living in designated RC&D areas.  RC&D programs exist throughout the state and operate on a regional level.  Check the website for office locations and programs.

NYS Agencies

  • Soil and Water Conservation Districts – 518-461-3566 or 518-629-7645 There are 62 county soil and water conservation districts in the state that provide information on conservation, and wise use of the natural resources.  Depending upon the district office, they may have money available for cost-share on land improvement and conservation projects.
  • NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets – 800-554-4501 State agency regulating agricultural businesses and commerce.  They administer marketing regulations that govern product sales, the agricultural districts program, agricultural conservation easements, provide market assistance and promotion, and offer several grants programs to increase farm viability.
  • NYS Department of Environmental Conservation – State environmental regulatory agency with programs addressing:  water quality, mineral resources, lands and forests, fish and wildlife, and pesticide/hazardous materials regulation. They offer some technical assistance but generally focus on the regulation of activities to assure compliance with state pollution regulations.

Cornell Programs

  • Cornell Cooperative Extension –
    Key outreach system of Cornell University with a strong public mission and an extensive local presence that is responsive to needs in New York communities. There are 56 associations across the state to offer educational programming in the areas of community development, agriculture, environment, family and youth, financial management, gardening, and nutrition and health.
  • Cornell Small Farms Program – and - 607-255-9227
    Fostering the sustainability of diverse, thriving small farms through information, events and activities, small farms research, and a free quarterly newsletter that is a must read for small farmers.
  • NY FarmNet – 800-547-3276
    Free and confidential on-farm consultants help farm families answer business and personal questions about finances, farm transfer, natural disaster, personal stress, family communication, and marital conflict.
  • NY FarmLink – 800-547-3276
    Provides educational resources, consulting, and opportunities that enable more farms to be transferred and joint ventures to be developed between people who want to farm and people who are seeking to retire from farming.

Organizations Serving Agriculture

  • New York State Farm Bureau
    The state’s largest non-governmental, volunteer agricultural organization financed and controlled by farm families for the purpose of solving economic and public policy issues challenging the agriculture industry. They are a grassroots based lobbying organization and offer educational resources to farmers in the state in addition to discounts on insurance and other products.
  • New York State Grange
    Agricultural and rural community fraternal organization with a focus on community involvement. They are a grassroots organization with a legislative agenda and many community involvement programs.
  • American Farmland Trust –
    Farmers and conservationists concerned about the rapid loss of the nation’s farmland to development, American Farmland Trust (AFT) is a nonprofit membership organization dedicated to protecting our nation’s agricultural resources. They have a legislative agenda and programs to help deter and/or stop the development of farmland.
  • NOFA-NY – New York Organic Farmers’ Association – 607-724-9851- certification office
    NOFA-NY is an organization of consumers, gardeners and farmers creating a sustainable regional food system that is ecologically sound and economically viable. They are the leading organic certification organization in the state.
  • Other NYS Producer Organizations
    There are many organizations specific to production interests (for example, NYS Apple Association, Vegetable Growers, Christmas Tree Growers, etc.). The NYS Dept. of Agriculture & Markets publishes a “Directory of New York State Agricultural Organizations”. For a copy of the directory call the Department at 800-554-4501, and many links can be found at the Ag & Markets website:

This fact sheet is part of the Guide to Farming in NY by Monika Roth et al, published by the Cornell Small Farms Program and Cornell Cooperative Extension. Fact sheets are updated once annually, so information may have changed since last revision. If you are reading a printed version of a fact sheet, compare revision date with online fact sheet publish dates at to make sure you have the latest version.

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