Albany – Assemblyman William Magee (D-Nelson), Chair of the Assembly Agriculture Committee, announced today that the Assembly voted to approve a new budget initiative that would provide a $30 million investment in the dairy industry. The initiative, which will provide immediate financial assistance to dairy producers across New York State, is strongly supported by the Senate and Governor Spitzer.
"Dairy farmers throughout Upstate New York have been under severe financial pressure for many, many months as a result of extremely low milk prices. Coupled with low milk prices, the costs of fuel, feed and fertilizer have skyrocketed and dairy farms are facing tremendous financial challenges,” said Assemblyman Magee, who also sponsored Assembly legislation that served as the starting point for this investment program. “The upstate economy is only as strong as our agricultural industry. This is true in my Assembly district and across New York State. I am pleased that my Assembly colleagues recognized the importance of farming to all of New York State and acted with such a strong show of support. I especially appreciate the support of this program from Assembly members that represent New York City.”
The budget proposal approved by the Assembly will establish a new Dairy Assistance Program that is similar to an initiative used in Vermont. According to the New York program, eligible dairy producers will receive payments based on pounds of milk produced during the 2006 calendar year. Payments will be made within thirty days of the proposal's enactment and capped at 4.8 million pounds of milk production.
“Dairy farming is a critical part of my Assembly district and upstate rural communities. Farming provides employment and economic infrastructure, while protecting open space and supplying nutritious food for our residents. This investment in the dairy industry will provide much needed economic relief and help agriculture look to future success,” concluded Magee.
The Governor is expected to approve this measure as part of the final enacted 2007-2008 state budget.