WNY Farm Owners Struggle with Retirement

July 25, 2014 Updated Jul 25, 2014 at 9:19 AM EDT

By Elizabeth Carey

July 25, 2014 Updated Jul 25, 2014 at 9:19 AM EDT

Many Western New York farmers are struggling as they face new challenges. That's the cover story in today's Business First called "Betting the Farm." For many area farmers, retirement is a long shot unless they can find someone to take over the business.

The report shows how farmers in Western New York and across the country are getting older, but many haven't figured out who will lead the farms next­ or what to do when no one in the family is interested.

Last year, agriculture sales pumped nearly $117 million into the Erie County economy. So the closure of farms would hurt the economy, not to mention the food source.

The census shows the average age of a WNY farm owner is 57 years old, on par with national numbers.

The report says options range from selling the land or leasing it to new farmers or teaming up with younger farmers who are interested in farming, but can't afford the upfront cost.

There is help available to area farmers from workshops to succession planning advice. You can find details on that in today's Business First.

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