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

October 24, 2008

Farmworker Housing Program Receives Increase in Funding

ALBANY, NY (10/23/2008; 1147)(readMedia) -- More farmers in New York State will be able to obtain low-cost loans to build or rehabilitate housing for their workers, thanks to an increase in funding for the state's highly successful Farmworker Housing loan program.

The $2 million increase in loan funds was announced today by Deborah VanAmerongen, commissioner of the State Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) and Patrick Hooker, commissioner of the Department of Agriculture and Markets.

The Farmworker Housing Program, administered by DHCR, provides no-interest loans of up to $100,000 to farmers who can demonstrate a need to improve or construct farmworker housing. The program was created in 1995 as a $2 million revolving loan fund, used to provide loans for housing for seasonal farmworkers. In 2004 the program was expanded to include dairy farms with year-round farmworkers. Funding for the revolving loan fund was also increased to $7 million at that time.

DHCR Commissioner VanAmerongen said "the Farmworker Housing Program has been extremely effective and has helped more than 200 farmers in New York provide safe housing for their workers. The additional $2 million in loan funds will help many more farms to grow and prosper."

Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker said, "No other employer depends on their workforce quite as much as farmers. Farm workers are the vital lifeblood of every farm operation and I am pleased that this administration is able to expand this revolving loan fund to help with the construction of new farm worker housing. With an additional $2 million, New York State can offer an even greater resource to farmers so they in turn can provide better housing for their employees."

Judi Whittaker, a dairy farmer from Broome County, said, "Not too many other industries offer their employees free housing. But because we live in the country and rental properties are limited, we believe it's an important and appreciated benefit for working on our farm. This loan program helped us purchase an adjacent property with an existing house that enhanced our benefit package, making jobs on our farm more attractive and competitive. I highly encourage other farmers to take advantage of this useful program."

DHCR works with two local loan administrators who originate and service Farmworker Housing loans. Farm Credit of Western New York, ACA, serves the sixteen western counties of New York State, and First Pioneer Farm Credit, ACA, serves Central New York, Long Island, the Hudson Valley and most of northern New York.

The loan administrators require a one-time origination and servicing fee of five percent of the loan amount. There are no other interest or inspection fees charged and this fee is amortized over the ten year loan repayment period.

For more information on the Farmworker Housing Program, visit the DHCR website at You can also contact local administrators directly:

First Pioneer Farm Credit, ACA

One Pioneer Dr., Potsdam, NY 13676

800-295-8431 or 315-265-8452

Farm Credit of Western New York, ACA

4363 Federal Drive, Batavia, New York 14020

800-929-1350 or 585-815-1900

2008 Press Releases