A bill sponsored by Assembly Agriculture Committee Chair Bill Magee (D-Nelson) officially recognizing alpaca and llama farmers as eligible for the agriculture districts law has passed the Assembly and Senate.
"This is good news for our alpaca and llama farmers as it recognizes the growing number and stature of our alpaca and llama farmers who add needed diversity to our agriculture industry here in New York State," Magee said.
The bill clarifies in statute that alpacas and llamas are officially considered livestock under the agricultural districts law thus ensuring that these farm operations are eligible for agricultural assessments and other protections and benefits that other farmers are already eligible for. This bill simply follows up on an opinion issued by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets which inferred that llama farmers were eligible for the agricultural districts law.
"There is a changing face of agriculture all across New York State and this bill recognizes that and really tries to promote farmers seeking diversity within agriculture that will benefit all of our farmers by keeping land in production," Magee commented.
Between 1991 and 2002, according to the Alpaca Registry, the number of alpacas being raised in the United States grew from just over two thousand one hundred to well in excess of forty-six thousand and by the end of 2004 that number increased to over sixty-one thousand. In New York State, alone, we have approximately two hundred sixty-five alpaca farmers raising almost three thousand alpacas that are valued at over $45 million.
"The more we can do to encourage variety in the agriculture industry and encourage our farmers to seek out and market new products the better off our entire agriculture industry will be," Magee concluded.