Agriculture is one of New York’s leading industries. But many farmers in our state have been forced to sell land that has been in their family for generations due to hardship in the recent economic climate. However, this week, members of the Assembly Minority conference and I announced several proposals intended to strengthen New York’s crucial agriculture industry and help those engaged in it.
Our proposals are part of a plan contained in a 35-page interim report by the Assembly Minority Task Force on the State of New York Agriculture. Our task force gathered testimony from farmers across the state and local officials, representatives of agricultural organizations, producers and other stakeholders.
As part of the 12-member task force, I participated in several of the nine regional forums throughout New York state last year, from the eastern shores of Long Island to Orleans County in the western part of the state. At each stop, I met with local experts to discuss ways to improve New York’s agriculture industry.
The Minority plan would create agricultural development zones, which would provide Empire Zone-like benefits to farmers and other agricultural concerns. It would establish an "Export New York" program to assist New York growers in finding worldwide markets for their products. Additionally, the plan calls for the provision of grants for farmers to process their own products on-site, thereby increasing profitability, while providing additional funding for the preservation of farmland. Similarly, the plan calls for issuing year-round wildlife control permits to allow farmers to protect crops.
New York’s upstate economy is directly linked to the agriculture industry. We must make it easier for farmers to experience profitability and protect their land for generations to come. For more information on the Assembly Minority Task Force on the State of New York Agriculture and its report, please contact my district office at (315) 946-5166.