Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor | Richard A. Ball, Commissioner
Jessica A. Chittenden

May 22, 2007

Commissioner Reminds Farmers to Only Sell to Licensed Dealers

Agricultural Producers Security Law Protects Farmers from Nonpayment

New York State Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker today reminded producers of farm products to only sell to licensed farm product dealers and to promptly report to the Department any dealer who does not pay for farm products. This reminder highlights the provisions contained in Article 20 of the New York State Agriculture and Markets Law, more commonly known as the Agricultural Producers Security Law.

"The Agricultural Producers Security Law has been effective in helping New York farmers receive payment for the products they produce," the Commissioner said. "I encourage all of our producers to become familiar with the details of the law and to make sure they are selling their products only to licensed dealers. In the event of nonpayment, it is important that producers notify the Department immediately in order to preserve their rights under this valuable law."

Farm product dealers are required to be licensed with the Department of Agriculture and Markets. Dealersí licenses expire on April 30 of each year and must be renewed for the license year beginning May 1. The State Department of Agriculture and Markets maintains a current list of licensed dealers on the Departmentís website at and will provide a hard copy upon request.

Article 20 of the New York State Agriculture and Markets Law provides financial protection for farmers against nonpayment for their products sold to licensed dealers. In order to preserve a producerís eligibility for the financial protections available under the Agricultural Producers Security Law, producers must:

1. Sell only to licensed dealers. Only sales to licensed dealers are covered under Article 20. The dealer must be licensed at the time of the transaction.

2. The sale of farm products for which a claim is made must have occurred within 120 days after the earliest unpaid transaction between the producer and the dealer that remains unpaid as of the date the claim is filed, irrespective of whether that transaction is included in the claim.

3. Claims of nonpayment must be filed with the Department no later than 365 days after the sale and delivery of the farm products. In the event the Department has issued a notice to file claims, they must be submitted by the date specified in the published notice without regard to the 365-day time frame.

A producer can also take advantage of Article 20ís trust provision, a legal mechanism that holds a dealer responsible for the full amount owed to a producer. The "Article 20 Trust" is established upon delivery of the producerís farm products to a dealer and ends once the amount due is fully paid. The trust assets are the farm products and the proceeds from the sale of those farm products. To take advantage of the Article 20 Trust, a producer must provide a written notice to the dealer within 60 days from the date when payment is due informing the dealer that the producer is electing the trust benefit. The written notice must provide details of the transaction, including the dealerís name, transaction date, product sold, quantity, price per unit, amount owed and the date payment is due. As a practical matter, a producer may wish to provide written notice to a dealer on the invoice itself.

The Department recommends that producers consult with their attorney concerning matters involving preservation of their trust benefit, or to enforce the trust.

For up-to-date information about the law, a copy of the brochure or a list of licensed dealers, please visit the Departmentís website at, or call the Department at 1-800-554-4501 or directly at 518-457-1954.

2007 Press Releases