Lawmakers have failed to pass the New York Agricultural and Rural Jobs Act, a bill that would have used private investment to create a $100 million agribusiness fund, Agri Investor has learned.
The bill, drafted by state Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner, D-Round Lake, would have used a 65 percent tax credit to attract private capital contributions to a rural business investment fund (RBIF) investing into job-creating agriculture and rural businesses.
It was presented for inclusion in the state budget amid ongoing talks regarding the 2017-18 fiscal year
“Sadly, it fell off the table in the final negotiations,” Woerner wrote in an email today.
Leading up to the negotiations, Woerner told Agri Investor last week that the fund would have injected much-needed money into farms and agribusinesses in rural areas as well as supported local agtech innovations coming out local universities including Cornell, Morrisville and RPI.
“Agtech is one of fastest-growing venture capital sectors out there, with higher rates of return than many other high-tech industries,” she said. “This is a mechanism to jumpstart the agtech entrepreneurial sector in our state and in doing so create an avenue for young people who may not be interested in working on the farm, providing a path to combine engineering and farming experience to create that great new robot or technology to move agriculture forward.”
Woerner noted that the bill would be crucial in particular for dairy farms, particularly prevalent in New York’s rural areas, providing strategic capital to upgrade and expand facilities to increase production. Eligible businesses with fewer than 250 employees or less than $15 million in net income would have qualified. The credit meanwhile would have been available to investors with corporate income liability, insurance premium liability, or franchise tax liability.
Woerner said she will continue to push the program with a view toward its implementation in next year’s budget.