Assemblywoman Annie Rabbitt (R, C, I – Greenwood Lake) is proud to announce that her legislation, Assembly Bill 2606, to help protect agricultural lands, is gaining steam in the State Assembly. Specifically, at least 19 legislators have signed onto sponsor her bill and, now, the Chair of the Assembly Agriculture Committee also has asked to become a sponsor.
“This legislation started as my attempt to close loopholes in dumping regulations in order to help some of the local farmers in my district. However, lawmakers from across the state are supporting this bill and now, with the support of the chair, I am hopeful this bill will soon come before the full Assembly to be voted on,” said Assemblywoman Rabbitt.
Her bill, A.2606, would close current regulatory loopholes in regards to the dumping of substandard agricultural products on land. In particular, the legislation prevents out-of-state food distributors from dumping substandard or below-grade products or culls. This legislation, if enacted, would help protect farmland from the diseases and viruses, such as Iris Yellow Spot Virus, which can damage and/or wipe out onion crops.
To date, Iris Yellow Spot Virus has not been found in New York state-produced onions. However, according to Cornell Cooperative Extension, the disease is spreading across the states, like Georgia and Colorado, and New York state’s growers should be prepared. The biggest safeguard against this disease is to protect against the dumping of out-of-state agricultural products on New York state farmland.
Cornell Cooperative Extension reports that New York state produces 12,500 acres of onions with a cash value of over $39 million. According to the United States Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service, there are at least 670 farms in Orange and Rockland counties (as of 2008 data) that contribute at least $99,257 toward the state’s total annual agricultural revenues of over $4.45 million (as of 2007 data).
Protecting this industry and farming tradition is the goal of Assemblywoman Rabbitt’s legislation and her hope is that with increased awareness of agricultural crop diseases and with the support of the Agriculture Committee chair, the Legislature can take more proactive steps to safeguard New York’s agricultural industry.