Over the last few years, we have seen a significant increase in weather-related crop loss throughout our Western New York agricultural community. Although farmers are taking every precaution, there is little they can do when up against the unpredictable Mother Nature. That is why I have been working to ensure that farmers are supported when weather significantly damages a crop.
In fact, I authored and introduced legislation to provide farmers with $30 million in assistance when they experience crop loss due to excessive weather conditions. My plan, the Agriculture Assistance Program, is similar to the $60 million Dairy Assistance Program I brought home in 2007, only this program is specifically targeted to help those farmers whose crops were lost due to flooding in 2006 and thereafter.
My plan, if enacted, would also help the farmers across our region who are currently calculating their crop loss due to the recent hail storm. While I applaud Governor Paterson attempting to have the federal government designate our farmlands as disaster areas, I am calling on the Governor to use his influence to get my Agriculture Assistance Program off the shelf and addressed before this year’s regular legislative session ends.
As a former farmer and farm bureau president, I know how important our farmlands are to the success of our communities and economy in Western New York and I am fighting to deliver for you. I will continue urging the Speaker and the Governor to bring my Agriculture Assistance Program legislation out of committee so that we can bring home the assistance that our farmers need due to this extraordinary hailstorm.