The former president of the Genesee County Farm Bureau, Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R, I, C – Batavia) was honored today by the New York Farm Bureau for his consistent legislative voting history in support of initiatives that will help protect and promote New York State agriculture.
“New York State’s agriculture is truly the pride of our state and our family farmers need to be protected so that this fine legacy continues. With encroaching development luring many to sell their land, our farmers need every incentive in order to succeed,” said Hawley, who, with his brother, used to run a family-owned cash crop and hog farm that was founded by his grandfather in the early 1900s. “Because of my family’s farming history, this distinction is particularly meaningful to me. I am very proud to be honored by the Bureau and I will continue working to support them.”
Hawley has been an important supporter of our area’s agricultural market, which is why he sponsors legislation to ensure farmers have the support needed to grow. He sponsors a bill to provide financial relief to dairy producers and supports a plan to help recruit the next generation of New York’s farmers along with measures to promote our state’s agricultural products on a national and international scale. He is also the sponsor of the New York State Agriculture Assistance Program, a plan that will help promote our state’s agricultural products and will provide $30 million in assistance for crop and livestock farmers.
Last year, the Assemblyman’s support helped pass pro-agricultural legislation, including creation of measures this year to establish a $30 million Dairy Assistance Program, capping the amount a base agricultural assessment can change year-to-year, as well as providing financial assistance to counties for farmland protection and for the construction of greenmarkets, among others.
Our area has always valued farming and has made innovations to this field – a tradition that continues to play an important role in our economy today. In fact, with nearly 120 dairy farms in our region producing over 31 million pounds of milk a year, agriculture is certainly still the backbone of our economy.
In recent years, our farmers’ economic contribution has also increased through the production of corn, which is used to make ethanol fuel, and organic farming, including soy production. The success of our farms is celebrated at annual county fairs and harvest festivals, such as the Onion Festival in Genesee County, Hilton’s Apple Festival, the Western New York Garlic Festival in Orleans County, and Niagara County’s Peach Festival.
The New York Farm Bureau is the state’s largest general farm advocacy organization, representing over 36,000 family farmers.