Assemblyman William Boyland, Jr. (D-Kings) announced that the 2009-2010 state budget rejects a number of cuts to agricultural programs made in the executive budget, restoring millions of dollars in vital funding.
“Agriculture is a $3.6 billion-dollar-a-year industry in New York. We know we need to make sacrifices when crafting this budget, but it would be unwise to cut agricultural programs off at the knees when farms and farmers are so critical to the health and success of our economy,” Assemblyman Boyland said. “We need to support and protect agricultural programs as a means of bolstering our state’s economy.”
The state budget directs significant funding from the Environmental Protection Fund in order to promote sustainable farming in New York, including:
- $23 million for farmland protection;
- $12.2 million for agricultural non-point pollution control efforts, an increase of $3.3 million over the executive’s budget proposal; and
- $450,000 for agricultural waste management.
The budget also rejects a new $100 application fee for seed distributors and labelers.
Restoring funding cuts
The spending plan restores $3.2 million in funding to the NY Farm Viability Institute, an organization that works with farms throughout the state and provides grant funding to applied research and outreach education projects. That includes a restoration of $376,000 to the New York Center for Dairy Excellence, a Farm Viability Institute program established in 2006 to strengthen and unify the dairy industry in New York. With milk sales accounting for more than half of total agricultural receipts, dairy is New York’s leading agricultural product.
The budget restores $951,000 to the NY Wine and Grape Foundation, which serves to unify the state’s wine industry, from growers to winemakers to wholesalers to retailers. New York ranks third in the nation in grape production and second in wine production.
“The wine industry is a staple of the state’s economy, bringing in over 3 million visitors each year, supporting nearly 200 farms, and providing $3.4 billion in annual revenue,” Assemblyman Boyland said. “We need to support this growing industry, not hamper it, especially now, when we need to encourage growth most.”
In addition, the budget restores more than $450,000 in discretionary funding for local fairs.
“Fairs are age-old, important parts of local economies. We need to support them to ensure we continue to reap the tried-and-true cultural and economic benefits they generate,” Assemblyman Boyland said.