A bipartisan state Legislature bill announced Thursday would expand the refundable tax credit for New York farmers to build housing for farmworkers.  

The legislation, sponsored by Republican state Sen. Jim Tedisco, of Ballston Lake, and Democrat Assemblymember Marianne Buttenschon, of Utica. It would allow the cost of construction of housing for farmworkers to be included under a 20% investment tax credit.

“Our family farms are a big part of New York’s economy, and the state needs to do more to save them. This bipartisan legislation provides a 20% tax credit to help our family farmers ensure they continue to have the labor force needed to help them grow and it helps address our state’s urgent affordable housing crisis by providing farmers with relief for the construction of new housing for farmworkers,” said Tedisco in a press release.  

The current tax code allows farmers to make investments in buildings, machinery or equipment, but doesn’t address the construction of residential housing, or machinery and equipment to build housing for farmworkers.  

“Housing is a concern for all employers and our farmers are not exempted. [Providing] optimal housing for our farm employees should be a priority. This tax credit will assist our farmers with much needed local housing,” Buttenschon said in a press release.  

New York farms employ nearly 57,000 people and farmers saw a 41% increase in labor costs from 2017 to 2022, according to the USDA Census of Agriculture.  

The New York Farm Bureau has supported the legislation.  

“Farmworkers are essential to our family farms and food system. Many receive free housing as an employment benefit and as labor needs expand, the need for additional housing does too,” said David Fisher, president of the New York Farm Bureau.  

The bill will incentivize new housing and improved quality of life for farmworkers who support the food supply, Fisher said.  

The tax credit was passed last year to support farmers as they saw an increase in input costs such as seed prices, fertilizer and fuel.