When I was growing up in western Orange County, I was never more than a stone’s throw away from a farm, and am thrilled to still live in an area where I can so readily enjoy their products. My grandparents and parents were great friends with longtime family farmers, as am I. I also am fortunate to call some of them my clients.
The Hudson Valley has a strong agricultural history, and its proximity to New York City puts the region in a unique position. We are living in an exciting time where people are rediscovering the beauty and value of “farm-to-table,” “craft,” “heirloom,” and “artisanal” products—all of which refer to a genuine, natural product from a traditional farm.
Many city neighborhoods have farmers’ markets where residents can enjoy the literal fruits of the Hudson Valley. Couples from New York City pay top dollar for a wedding with an authentic Hudson Valley farm atmosphere. The list goes on, and presents an amazing opportunity for farmers in our region
Still, farming requires an extremely high level of commitment and hard labor to work the fields or tend to the animals, to cultivate and distribute its products, construct or acquire buildings and equipment, and ensure the maintenance of those buildings and equipment. Farmers also must become well-versed in financing and cash flow issues, and plan for succession of the farm to family members, key employees, or to a third party. To be a successful farmer, one must be the proverbial jack of all trades—horticulturist, veterinarian, engineer, contractor, banker, and businessperson.
However, every good business owner knows that a little help goes a long way. It’s difficult to navigate the structure of your business, contracts, financing, grant opportunities, municipal and state law compliance, and planning your business and personal affairs together in a way that maximizes all that hard work. The interplay of all the laws that can affect a farmer, including but not limited to the specialized agricultural laws, can be daunting. A good team that is enthusiastic about and experienced in the area is critical.
Like farmers on the farm, there are not many business and legal situations the attorneys here at Blustein, Shapiro, Frank & Barone, LLP can’t handle. As a full-service firm, with most of our attorneys born and raised in and around farms, we are uniquely positioned to help Hudson Valley farmers fulfill their goals. We are grateful for the farmers with whom we work, and excited to potentially serve the needs of more. And in any event, to all the farmers out there, we wish you much success, and we can’t wait to enjoy your products and services—if we aren’t already!